Monday, December 11 , 2017, 5:50 am | Overcast with Haze 43º


Ken Williams: A Poem for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

[Noozhawk’s note: Monday is Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday marking the birthday of the late civil rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.]

A man of color,
He had a dream of a promise without,               
A prophet to all regardless of color.
He became our hero, the gentle warrior.

Born into an era of violence.
The man’s heart without.
Knowing the corruption of violence.
Vowed nonviolent struggle, hate — without.

Violence mutilates the soul he told us.
What weapons to be used, he pondered?
To engage with love above all he told us.
Nonviolent resistance he promised.

A witness to the addiction to war, the evils of racism,
And hearing the cries of the economically wounded.
He confronted the powerful, stared down the racists,
Challenged the war makers, yet suffered with the warriors wounded.

Dr. King was merely a man.
Dr. King, a great man.
A nation believed in this common, uncommonly man,
Perched on a mountaintop, beckoning forward alike all mankind.

To honor the brave once dead,
So easy.
Who fights on behalf of the poor and homeless this day?
To fight the new injustices,
comes not easy.
Who confronts the war makers today?

For Dr. King love was to be glorified.
Love and non-violence were his kingdom,
Now wealth and fame are so glorious.
Today — hell of a thirty-clip gun is our glorious kingdom.

Dr. King is harmless.
Only if Dr. King is made harmless.
The puppet masters, the haters, those who lie with cold steel.
Money, our children’s innocence and their future they steal.

You may be brown enough to pick our food.
Brown enough for some to hate.
All colors made to dance for fools.
All human enough to fear the state that hates.

But only if Dr. King is harmless.
Only if Dr. King is made harmless.
Only if the Dream is rendered harmless.
Only if we play the fools—-not so harmless.

Ken Williams has been a social worker for the homeless for the past 30 years, and is the author of China White, Shattered Dreams: A Story of the Streets and his first nonfiction book, There Must Be Honor. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >