Sunday, September 20, 2009

Parque Lincoln

Abe Lincoln, above.
MLK, below.

I spent a decent amount of time in Polanco this weekend. I went to the apartment of an American there Saturday night who recently moved to D.F.; he's working for a bank here and lives just off Avenida Presidente Mazayrk, the most upscale shopping street in the city. What I love about Polanco is that it is one of the few walkable parts of Mexico City. You're within walking distance of many restaurants, shops, bars, and parks, and there's always a lot to do. Where I live, I always have to take a bus or taxi to get to anywhere interesting, so it's very nice to be in a neighborhood where you can walk to most places.

My church is fairly close to Polanco, and after church today I went with a few people to have coffee in Polanco. Beforehand, we stopped by Parque Lincoln (Lincoln Park ... hmm, that name sounds familiar). This park has two amazing statues, on separate sides of the street, facing each other. A statue of Abraham Lincoln on one side of a street directly faces a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. Both statues were donated by the United States government. One of the guys in my group said that when he was learning English, he watched the "I Have a Dream" speech, and was moved to tears.

It was really interesting to see these statues, especially considering that I'm currently reading "To the Mountaintop," a biography of MLK, but more specifically, a biography also about his faith. It's fascinating to read about how certain he was of the rightness of his mission, as well as his acceptance and understanding that he would eventually be assassinated. It's also interesting to read that he reluctantly came to his position as a civil rights icon; he initially was much more interested in being a theology-oriented, middle-class pastor. MLK's biography also has a fascinating interlude about Lincoln's visit to Gettysburg. Last year, I read "Team of Rivals" , a fascinating biography of Lincoln's ability to bring his rivals together in his administration, and ever since then I've really come to see him as our greatest President. In a society such as Mexico, where racism isn't literally as "black and white," but nonetheless is a significant problem, it's nice to see the recognition of two seminal figures who fought for human equality.

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