By Tara Michener
Around our globe, the world is looking at our incredible leader... Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I have been thinking very intentionally about Dr. King's work, his life, and his legacy as of late. I have been following his daughter, Bernice King, who leads the King Center and does amazing work on Twitter. Her efforts to uphold and preserve who her dad was and his vision is inspiring. One of the reoccurring themes that Bernice reminds often of in her tweets is that those who invoke King's name should do it respectfully. She is clear that he would not be pleased with watered-down perspectives of his message, his heart towards change and equity, and the fact that he was killed because of his work. When we talk to young people and use children's books to paint a picture of who Dr. King was, it is important not to take away from the fact that his legacy is still in need of protection but also the fact that we all can make a change in small or larger ways towards the footprint that was left for us by Dr. King. As creators, we can ask ourselves if we help with equity and inclusion in our own ways. Do we take opportunities to stand up for others? Do we look at how our work can leave a legacy for our readers? Do we think about how our words and images have an impact on readers who may not look like us and try to see things from their lens? We all have work to do and an incredible dreamer and leader set the stage for us to grow...let's do it together. This day is not just for a day off, a sale, or a vacation. It is for us to remember that a caring man died for freedom and that freedom has not yet been realized for all just yet. We have work to do.
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Tara Michener is the author of six children's books that focus on self-esteem, diversity and anti-bullying. She is a TEDx speaker, therapist and owns her own private practice in Novi, MI. Tara has been recognized in publications such as Prevention Magazine, Essence Magazine, FREEP and more! She is the Committee Chair of E&I at SCBWI-MI. Her favorite days usually include spending time with her hubistrator, Jason, her son Cannon and her favorite snack Twizzlers and Diet Coke. You can follow her on Twitter @Taramichener.