This week I had the opportunity to visit the National Center for Civil and Human Rights here in Atlanta. It is hard to put words to the experience, and it is still very much with me. The magnitude of feelings was palpable, as I noticed the experience of other visitors taking in the deeply personal loss others have experienced around the world in so many instances. My own feelings were immense and exquisite as I read side by side about both perpetrators of genocide and also those who have long been defenders of human rights. Over and over again, we, the viewers were reminded that we have a role, and should not stand aside. That it is the silence of the public that allows oppression to continue in small and large ways.
"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is a temporary exhibit of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s personal papers on loan from the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection. Seeing his handwriting and progression of his work felt like a more intimate view into one of the many poignant stories unfolding in this space.
There was something important about encountering this museum at an especially busy time as it was made available free of charge to the public for Black History Month. Here we were all witnessing together the great suffering that humans can inflict on each other, and also the ways we can, even at great personal risk and sacrifice, show up for each other. And this story is still unfolding. We can still choose who we want to be and how we want to show up.
If you haven’t been to this museum, I strongly recommend it. I am already looking for a time to return.