Today, as a nation, we formally celebrate the Martin Luther King's birthday. As is our custom, my kids and I logged onto YouTube to watch some of his speeches and discuss racism in America. They are difficult discussions, but necessary to prepare my children for adulthood.
While my African American parents raised we well, they went out of their way to shield me from their experiences of drinking from “COLORED ONLY” water fountains and being called the “N” word.
And of being forced by a young child, under threat of a beating, to call that child's father “Mister,” and to call my grandfather something else. They told me these stories after I had become an adult.
Everyone seemed to just hope that I would not face similar hostility, but I did — as a college freshman at the University of South Carolina. I wash shocked, and I did not know how to handle it because I had never been trained to know it still existed. I don't want the same thing to happen to my children, so we speak frankly and honestly. It breaks my heart when they tell me about racist comments made by some of their elementary school classmates.
When I came across this short clip of Dr. King speaking about “emancipation,” my heart skipped a beat. It made me think of how as small and independent business owners, we must emancipate ourselves from a poor economy caused by greed and selfishness that flow from the highest levels of our economy. His words are worth listening to, his passion worth taking to heart. You can watch the short video or read his remarks here.
I come here tonight and plead with you. Believe in yourself and believe that you are somebody. I said to a grop last night, — Nobody else can do this for us. No document can do this for us. No Lincolnian emancipation proclamation can do this for us. No Johnsonian civil rights bill can do this for us.
If the Negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with a pen and ink of self-assertive manhood his own emancipation proclamation.
What's (Or Who's) Holding You Back?
Isn't that the truth of life? Dr. King's remarks here are in the context of racism, but that's just one of many things that can enslave you. No matter who you are or where you are from. No matter what kind of economy you grow up in, and no matter whether you are rich or poor, you must free yourself from something in order to maximize your potential in life.
For you, it may be an abusive childhood. For another, it may be the challenges of addiction. For others, it may be the shackles of low self-esteem. And for others, the golden handcuffs that were given to them at birth may be keeping them from fully enjoying the freedom needed to pursue their passions.
Everyone, from the greatest to the least of us, and from one race or another, must at some point free himself or herself from something that is sabotaging the best he or she can be.
As small and independent business owners, I mean real small business ownersat this time, for us, it may be said that what's holding us back is the trickle down effects of the greed on Wall Street and the sting of increasingly burdensome regulations and paperwork that threaten to sap the passion and enthusiasm with which we pursue our dreams.
Write Your Own Emancipation Proclamation
But in the end, it all comes back to you. After everyone else has been bailed out except for you, what are you going to do? Bail your own self out? Write your own emancipation proclamation. That's what I did, and it's what I help others do every day. And I love it!
What are you going to do about that which holds or would hold you back? Are you going to stare into the lights of the oncoming train of a lousy economy and a government that has not yet fully heard your voice?
Or are you going to write your own emancipation proclamation, and stand up and pursue your dreams of economic freedom through small business ownership? If so, you may want to start by taking the Indie Business Pledge.
It's your choice.
Question: Have you written your own emancipation proclamation?