This is Me

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Monday, January 21, 2008

My Responsibility.....

The company I work for is a small one and doesn't give its employees all federal holidays.

Martin Luther King, Jr. day is a trade-off. You can either get that day or the day after Thanksgiving. (This never has made sense to me, especially since the day after Thanksgiving ISN'T a holiday. Never has been.)

My aunt also works for a company that doesn't give its employees the MLK Holiday off, so she uses a vacation day and takes it anyway. I decided to do that as well when I got a job.

Since graduation, I've worked at the same company for almost three years. I've used vacation time and taken MLK Day off the past two, but when the time came to decide this year, I thought..... "Do I really want to use one of my FEW vacation days?" (I only have 4 to last me through the next 4 months.) I might want to take a much-needed rest come March or April.

Plus, I haven't participated in any MLK day events in the past two years.

When I was in college I marched with my sorority, and in grad school I went to the parade. But after getting a job, the first year I used the day to clean up since I was working two jobs and never had time to do anything. The second year a friend and I watched Black history documentaries all day. (I wasn't out marching, but I was learning.)

Although I hadn't participated in any marches since school, I still felt, as a Black person, I should take the day off just on principal. I mean, how dare my company not acknowledge this great man and all he did for America? He died so that I could be "free" (sounds dramatic, I know, but it's true) and everyone could have equal opportunities in all areas.

My white colleagues conduct business as usual like the day isn't important, which pisses me off and makes me want to "throw my fist in the air."

Shouldn't taking a vacation day show my appreciation for the holiday and what it represents? Shouldn't using my own time to take a day that we don't get represent a stand in my majority-white office?

It's my responsibility as a Black person, right?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. My "responsibility" can also go the other way.

You could say it's my responsibility as a Black person to recognize this holiday by appreciating my job and my role as a supervisor.

Now I'm not going to put "Supervisor of white people" on my resume, but having white (and males at that) report to me, as a woman and African-American, is a big deal.

Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his life selflessly so that I could be able to work wherever I wanted and hold the position of "boss."

So I sit here at work on this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, forever grateful for what he and others did for me and our people.

I may not be outside marching or listening to a speaker at a church service, but, as a "boss" handling business I might not have had if it had not been for MLK and my ancestors, I am demonstrating in my own way.


  • At 10:22 PM, Blogger Greg said…

    very strong post...i can appreciate it, and if KING was here i know that he wouldn't mind u working...u being there means a lot...believe me.

  • At 12:49 AM, Blogger The Movement said…

    Hear hear. I agree that Dr. King wouldn't have any problems with you working on his holiday. You are right he did die so you could have that opportunity. And as a young female in OUR industry, you holding your position is major.

  • At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Echance said…

    Wonderful post. I agree Dr. King would be proud of you working (in a position which may not have been available if it wasn't for him) on his National Holiday.

    Kudos to you!


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