Monday, January 21, 2008

Commemorating the Movement and struggling to keep it going

I went to the historic Madame Walker Theatre today to commemorate Martin Luther King Day and the things that he stood for. I think I counted about ten folk of Caucasian appearance, including myself. The event itself was from an Afrocentric perspective, but that does not mean that African American faces should be the only faces seen. I was moved by nearly every speaker and the performers that were in attendance had me in tears (course that's not hard to do with me, especially recently). The power of community and strength that came over me while I was present for this occasion was indescribable. While the focus was, as these days and events often preclude, on the struggles of Black Americans and the fact that (as was quoted today) only 50% of our African American children are completing high school, the rate of kids killing each other and using drugs seems it to be on the rise rather than decline, there was the overall message that I think needs to resonate more passionately with everyone. That change starts with you. And everyone, no matter what your background, is responsible for doing the best you can in your role in life and putting forth all that you can to allow for any possibility of change in our communities and in our world.

I get caught up in my own head a lot of the times. My own views and ventures to see and love everyone as an individual and to encourage peace drive my life as much as I can remind myself to allow them to each day. But so many people do not feel that way. I often get teased for being a "hippie" or for being too much of a pacifist, and have since I was very young. But I really do believe by treating others with a smile, utilizing the Golden Rule, "killing them with kindness" as my mother always said to me, we can all get a lot more accomplished in life and hopefully with that kindness empower others to do the same. I'm feeling very egocentric and perhaps definitely on my soap box, but I am proud that I was raised by parents who fostered mine and my brother's curiosity to travel, greet strange experiences with openness, and respect everyone that crossed our path. It drives a hunger that I think both my brother and I share. Neither one of us ever seem fully satisfied with what we are doing at that present moment. There is always more to be learned, more to experience, more to do. But, as I am often reminded and was today, while it is so important to constantly strive for change and growth and challenge those who resist it, it is also as equally important to be mindful of the present moment. What are you doing RIGHT NOW? How can you do it the best way possible to ensure that you are making a positive mark to the height of your capacity?

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