Bits 'n' Pieces: MLK more than one 'dream'

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian social issues & neighborhoods reporter

Published:

 
photoBridgette Fahnbulleh

()

Dr. King had a dream. Everyone knows it. It was a beautiful dream, and it lives on today. There's no doubt about it.

But how much more do you know of what the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did and said? His much-celebrated "I Have A Dream" speech was far from the only time he was in the spotlight  — but given the way one fragment has been seized upon and endlessly repeated as a 30-second sound bite, you might not realize it.

Bridgette Fahnbulleh and the Baha'is of Vancouver want to share more of King, straight from the man himself. They will host a free Monday evening video festival featuring many of King's most moving speeches from throughout his long and storied career.

"I know young people are doing the volunteer thing, and it's great to have a holiday and volunteer," Fahnbulleh said. "But those young people, if you asked them to tell you about Dr. King, could they really say anything?"Fahnbulleh said she wants to make sure that King's whole journey — not just his singular dream about ending racism — is understood. His huge outpouring of speeches and other writings include everything from a letter written in a city jail cell in Birmingham, Ala., where he was imprisoned for civil disobedience, to his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize from the world stage in Norway.

He spoke out about jobs, housing and the Vietnam War. He launched a Poor People's Campaign and fulminated against economic injustice, Fahnbulleh pointed out; he didn't use recently coined terms such as the 99 percent versus the 1 percent, but that's exactly what he was talking about, she said."He said so much stuff," Fahnbulleh said. "I think it's easy to forget who he really was. We just want to take a few minutes for people to listen to all the things he really said."

The Baha'is of Vancouver are sponsoring the event because, Fahnbulleh said, they completely endorse King's messages — all of them.

"Everything he stood for, we are part of that. One of our main principles is the unity of mankind. That was one of Dr. King's main principles, of course. There's no division between the races. There's just one race, the human race."

Baha'i is a young but fast-growing religion, with upwards of 5 million followers worldwide, according to http://info.bahai.org. Here in Vancouver, there is a small Baha'i Center, but the faith isn't well known.

Fahnbulleh, who is the community involvement and employment manager at the Vancouver Housing Authority, said growing up Baha'i in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas was not so unusual. Her grandmother adopted the Baha'i faith after a Baha'i missionary returned from Africa and brought into her beauty shop talk of the Baha'i values of spiritual unity and community service.

"That made sense to her," Fahnbulleh said.

The Beyond the Dream video festival is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Baha'i Center, 4016 N.E. 13th St. The event is free, and refreshments will be served. Call 971-248-5219 to register.


Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.