Last Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In honor of MLK, Jason's school has participated in a school service project on this day for the last several years. This year, his school, Wawona, teamed up with Dailey Elementary and Fresno High to beautify Storyland and Playland. The three schools regularly work together since they are all International Baccalaureate (I.B.) schools. One of the draws of this global program is that it is very community-minded. Over 300 people gave up their "day off of school" to help clean and paint both parks. Jason decided to bring Grace with him and his team was in charge of painting fences and the lion drinking fountain. They had a great day together! Since Jeremy and I stayed home, the only picture I got of Jason and Grace was this one.
Later in the day, I had the chance to watch Oprah (I only watch a handful times a year since I'm usually working when her show airs). The show was dedicated to MLK and she recapped shows related to MLK and racism that she has done in the last 25 years. Grace wandered in and as she sat there, she began asking questions- I found myself stumbling in my words as I tried to explain to her in age-appropriate terms what the show was about. I ended up getting choked up and started crying when I told her that there was time when people who had different skin colors couldn't be together. It suddenly dawned on me as I was looking at my intelligent, sweet, innocent, beautiful "bi-racial" daughter that if it hadn't been for people like MLK and the difficult lives of many who came before us, it's likely Jason and I never would've been able to be together. Grace and Jeremy wouldn't be in my life... "There was a time when it wasn't ok for people with white skin to marry people who didn't have white skin. It would have been very, very hard for Daddy and Mama to get married back then." Grace said, "But Mama, you're white, too." Her comment made me realize that we really are just at the beginning of Grace's journey (of cultural awareness and self-identity) to understanding all it is that makes her unique. What a moment of revelation! I will never look at Martin Luther King Jr. Day as just a day off of school ever again.