MLK Jr. Day: Refusing erasure in any form

Ayala Edouard / student at Stetson University in DeLand, FL / Headline Surfer®By Ayala Edouard
Guest Columnist
 

DELAND, Fla -- It was a chilly, rainy night this Monday evening. I was attending choir rehearsal with my fellow peers and community members. As the choir director was ending our session, he decided to announce to the whole choir that we would not be having a rehearsal the following Monday, due to the celebration of MLK Jr. Day.

Instead of nods of understanding, I heard sighs of visible frustrations. The woman next to me even said to me that there should still be choir rehearsals and didn’t understand why we wouldn’t have one just because of a holiday. At that exact moment, I never felt so erased of importance.

As an African-American female in the United States, I often feel as though I can never satisfy anyone. Either I am being too sensitive or emotional about a controversial topic that involves race and sex; on the other hand, I could be viewed as siding with the dominant side and therefore not really caring about issues that involve people of color and women.

So for me, here is a holiday, celebrating the great legacy of the fight against oppression suffered by African-Americans in the United States, and here were people right beside me, upset that they wouldn’t be able to rehearse. 

Perhaps I was wrong for assuming that those around me would feel the same way I do about MLK Jr. Day.

However, I quickly learned that obscure Monday night that obviously people don’t seem to understand the struggle that was fought, in order to have this day. And a great deal of blame could be placed on many.

So instead of being disturbed by people’s apathetic responses and behavior, I will instead contribute what I can to not only this special day, but the battles fought for me so that I can be in the privileged position that I am currently in. For I am in this place because of people during the 1950s and 1960s who put their lives on the line.

So instead of being disturbed by people’s apathetic responses and behavior, I will instead contribute what I can to not only this special day, but the battles fought for me so that I can be in the privileged position that I am currently in. For I am in this place because of people during the 1950s and 1960s who put their lives on the line.

I am also in the privileged position that I am in because of the people before and after them that paved a way for those in the Civil Rights Movement to execute the demonstrations and rallies that they did. So I will not use this upcoming Monday as a way of solely relaxing and finishing homework assignments.

I will participate in discussions about what this day means to others: I will volunteer in my local community and give back what I can. I will learn more about what it means to be “Black” or “African-American” in this society. This is my way of protesting. This is my way of refusing erasure in any form. And this is my way of letting those before me, Black and White, that supported the Civil Rights Movement, that I am grateful for what they have done.

I will participate in discussions about what this day means to others: I will volunteer in my local community and give back what I can. I will learn more about what it means to be “Black” or “African-American” in this society. This is my way of protesting. This is my way of refusing erasure in any form. And this is my way of letting those before me, Black and White, that supported the Civil Rights Movement, that I am grateful for what they have done.

About the guest columnist: Ayala Edouard

Ayala Edouard is a student at Stetson University in DeLand, FL / Headline Surfer®Ayala Edouard is a student at Stetson University in DeLand, FL. She is majoring in International Studies and Political Science with minors in Latin American Studies and Spanish. She expects to graduate in 2017. Ayala Edouard is from Ruskin, FL.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.