I usually try to stick to one post a week, but on Monday, I attended my very first march, and I have strong itch to write about it. Monday morning, our Core Dance company and staff bundled up and jumped on the MARTA to join the Martin Luther King Jr. March for Humanity. While we gathered with hundreds of other participants at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, I felt, for the first time since I moved here last fall, the importance of Atlanta’s history. At home in Rochester, NY, we don’t have too many landmarks for the civil rights movement. Here, in the true South, it surrounds us constantly.
As we folded into the crowd and got real close and personal with strangers, I could feel this vibration of energies coming together for the one vision of humanity. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that we followed the exact same path as the funeral procession for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, fifty years ago. To me, a 22 year old from Upstate New York, the march first felt like an exploration of downtown Atlanta. It was exciting to walk new streets of a city with which I am still fairly unfamiliar. But when Bernice King took the stage, I felt the significance of being physically in the same spot as a legend. I couldn’t believe that Martin Luther King Jr’s family was a few feet away, leading this united crowd. Some groups chanted in a celebration of life and an enthusiastic drum-line accompanied their voices, almost like the second line in a funeral. I wondered if MLK Jr’s family felt the same energy of that procession fifty years ago, a combination of mourning for our world and the determination to unite for change, today, in this march for humanity.
Although I wasn’t immediately aware of the significance of our path, it seemed that even the youngest marchers knew they were participating in a significant moment. One group of kids - no older than five or six years old - linked their arms and created their own chant of “MLK JR!” I was in awe. If they felt this strong need for change in kindergarten, who knows what they’ll achieve in the future. One girl was clearly the leader, counting in her fellow chanters with “A one, and a two, and a three!” I feel like if she has anything to say about our world in the next 15 years, we’ll be okay.
Barbara Branson, Publications Manager, and the People of Core Dance