My Two Degrees of Separation From MLK Jr.



You know the game six degrees of Kevin Bacon? It started as a party game to see if you can figure out the shortest distance of one actor in a movie to a movie Kevin Bacon was in. Like if you said Tom Cruise you would get one degree of separation since they both were in a Few Good Men. But if you said Keira Knightly you would get two degrees of separation because she was in the Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch and he was in Black Mass with Kevin Bacon. Basically Linked In works on the same principle. You put the name in of someone you are trying to connect with and Linked In finds who you know who knows him or her too.


In celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday I am going to make my connection to the great leader. When I lived in Washington DC I had a side business as a caterer. John Lewis, congressman from Atlanta, confident and civil rights marcher with Dr. King was one of my customers. See he liked to serve southern food and I could cook southern before it became main stream, that and I was an inexpensive caterer. Congress Lewis especially liked my pecan bars. Since I know him and he knew Dr. King that is my two degrees.


Three years ago when Carter went on her seventh grade trip to Washington, DC she met John Lewis. She did not exactly know whom he was when she broke away from her group to go over to shake his hand; just that he appeared to be a fairly important person at the Capital. She excitedly told me about meeting him after her teacher filled her in. That’s when I told her my connection. Her response was, “Why don’t you make those pecan bars for us?” I don’t think that at the time she appreciated that she too had a two-degree separation from Dr. King.


Having that connection is not what is important on this day, but thinking about how we can all be more peaceful in our negotiations about living together. I wonder how disappointed Dr. King might be to see how poorly we all are getting along some fifty years after his peace marches. Rights are apparently not something we automatically keep once they are won. We have to keep working at ensuring that all humans have the rights they deserve. I just hope that we can all follow Dr. King’s example of working towards getting and keeping rights peacefully.

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