This year's weather for the annual Martin Luther King Day Parade in Beacon was frigid cold but the warmth of the song, the signs and slogans touched hearts and souls and even puppy paws! I took Clara, my overnight visitor from the Puppies Behind Bars program at the local correctional facility, to the MLK Day Parade. Clara is in training to be a service dog for a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan war or for a first responder; she is exceptionally good with her commands and easy to handle, so I thought I would give it a try.
Clara made my day even brighter than the strong mid-January sun that was shining on the diverse group of a hundred or so individuals who still know how to march for freedom, peace, social justice and sanity in these days of unrest and division with ongoing racism, sexism, ageism, and outright immorality in our contemporary society. While it is hard to believe it is over 50 years ago that MLK was killed, the issues remain, and so the marching and the singing continue.
Clara, the PBB puppy, got into the rhythm of the singing during the half hour walk amongst friends escorted by a fire truck and police car. Notwithstanding the politicians and religious leaders, the usual participants were notably present and are still going strong. Members of Beacon Sloop Club and Clearwater and Pete Seeger's daughter remain the standard bearers who are committed to this act of civil duty and responsibility to celebrate MLK's life and to increase awareness of current issues still in need of healing. The parade offers lessons of activism to the youth who were with their elders and the activity is congruent with the true spirit of volunteerism that is now widely promoted on MLK Day.
Food for thought: Perhaps this year's MLK Day Parade felt very special because I had a furry companion by my side who represents an act of social justice that I engage in routinely since I have volunteered in what I call my prison ministry for over five years. And perhaps it was imperative to show up this year because of the impending impeachment trials in the Senate. But mostly, it is a source of pride to know that the Beacon community continues to hold the march and associated activities during the day while there are still some states that do not even honor the federal MLK holiday. Beacon stands out because of its right actions. It was and will continue to be a 'beacon' of hope and direction. May it be so!