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My dad worked for the newspaper when I was little; we lived in Memphis, TN and he was a reporter, my dad met Dr. King on that march they talk about. We were going to an all-white church back then, and one time this black family wanted to join the congregation. The church elders decided they had to have a meeting about it and when my dad heard that, the next thing I remember is watching him go toe-to-toe with some man who was as red-faced as he was.  

We never went to church after that, but the next Sunday my dad took me to get ice cream. He knew I liked jewelry like little girls do, and he gave me a necklace with a big green emerald . Not a real one, like something little girls wear when they play dress-up. But it looked like they way cut stones for jewelry, and he told me those cuts were called facets, and that people had facets too. 

Even if it was a ruby instead of an emerald, he said, unless it had those facets, it wouldn’t be shiny or sparkly. Being red or green didn’t make one better than the other, you had to look at how sparkly and faceted they were. Someone spent a lot of time giving the stone shine and sparkle, and the same way I liked more-sparkly rubies or emeralds, people who had more facets were sparklier too.

But he said you didn’t want to have too many facets either; maybe deep inside, those people at the church had too many facets and were pretty much broken and in pieces, like that man who shot Dr. King was.  Not everybody felt about Dr. King like my dad did, especially in Memphis, TN, and Dr. King knew that.  But he still stepped out on that balcony that day and sparkled for those people.  

If a ruby’s green, it’s not a ruby—it’s an emerald, and it’s just wasting time trying to be a ruby. There’s a light and life we’re made for, we’re made all sparkly different. 

But everybody needs the light, to shine.

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