When I was 9 years old I wanted to be Martin Luther King Jr. I heard him speak and he moved my soul. Even as a young boy I was captivated by his words, inflection, tone, passion, and vision. MLK symbolized everything I wanted to be.
My mother told me about segregation and racism against African-Americans in our country. As a college student at UC Berkley, she saw first hand the beginning of a revolution to free oppressed people and open the minds of the rich white folks.
I wanted to be like MLK because he oozed freedom — not just for African-Americans but for all human souls. His liberation message was intoxicating. I wanted to be part of his revolution. I wanted to meet the man that inspired my heart, mind and soul.
But I had a problem. The man I so admired and wanted to meet was killed a few months after my first birthday. Some guy with a weird name pierced his body with a bullet of hate.
Although I could never meet MLK, my mother said it would be a good thing if I grew up to be like him. He lit the fire of revolution deep in my young heart, I just had to find the cause.
Since then, I’ve always wanted to be like MLK — someone who helps free people. Since then, I’ve always wanted to be like MLK — someone who helps free people. He helped free me. I thank God often for putting people like MLK in this world. MLK was called to free his people and in the process freed a lot of other people.
Around that same time, I grew to love another man MLK talked a lot about — Jesus, the carpenter’s son. I don’t remember the exact moment when I met Jesus but I know MLK was with me.