“I remember thinking, “This is how we record history”
Harvey Guillen isn’t just an incredible actor; he’s also a humanitarian, seeking to spread hope and help others on a daily basis. Back in November, he shared his heartwarming moment with a father and son in the Los Angeles subway, and earlier today, Harvey penned a prolific post reflecting on Martin Luther King Day. Check it out:
I remember when I was little, maybe seven or eight, and learning about MLK. Pretty early in the lesson, I remember thinking, “I want to meet this man.” He sounded amazing and talking about him made me feel good and happy. I asked my teacher, “Where does he live? Can we meet him?” She looked at me and said, “We can’t visit him, he’s gone now, but he lives in everyone who believed in his message.” I was young, but I had this gut feeling something bad had happened to him. I remember crying because I knew what she meant. He spoke his mind, fought for what was right, and was silenced.
Years later, my seventh grade English teacher was Miss Christian, an African-American woman who introduced me to some of my all-time favorite books. Our school was probably 50% Latino and 50% Asian, and Miss Christian was putting on a play about MLK. I remember thinking, “I want to play him.” There was a kid in class who told me, “You can’t play him, you’re not black.” I looked at him and said, “I know that, but it’s the story of his life, so whoever plays him better do a [expletive] good job.”
Miss Christian overheard this conversation and I got in trouble for swearing, but I got the role. At the end of the performance, while the narrator stated how MLK died, I remember being in the wings and seeing our cast waiting for the curtain call. I remember thinking, “This is how we record history. We keep telling it over and over, so it doesn’t repeat itself.”
Speak up, say it over and over. Stand up for what’s right, even if you stand alone.