Martin was a Man

dr-martin-luther-king-jr-and-children-on-swingWhat else could possibly be written about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King that has not already been put into print? How about the fact that he smoked cigarettes? Not exactly a ringing endorsement of sainthood or a picturesque frame for “the legend.” It’s not the information we share with our students, but, perhaps, we should. Truth is, Martin was a man that breathed in air like you and me, experienced doubt and fear, and, I’m sure, if we asked his wife, had his flaws. This is the time we honor and reflect upon his legacy and the civil rights movement, and I would never attempt to belittle his contributions to our society from which all Americans have benefited. However, I think some of us get wrapped up in “the legend” and forget about his humanity. When I think of his courage, strength, intelligence, and ultimate sacrifice, I am both inspired and intimidated. Simply reflecting on “the legend” can cripple our resolve and bathe us in self-doubt when comparing our service to his. In turn, this prevents us from continuing the work he began, because–well–we might not feel empowered to act because of fear of failure. We may never have high-profile platforms from which to speak, but our words do have weight, and our silence even more. We may even feel disconnected or overwhelmed by the social ills that swirl around us every day, justifying inaction in a variety of ways, but we do have power in our spheres of influence. The bottom line is, we need not start a revolution in order to empower others and ourselves, but, as individuals, we can and should continue Martin’s work by becoming aware of and diligently speaking out against injustice whenever we witness its occurrence in our own little worlds. Let not the mind obstacle of fear prevent us from moving forward. In Martin’s own words, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”

~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com

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Reaping the Benefit of Courageous Choices; Dr. Martin Luther King

Despite bomb threats, attack dogs, fire hose abuse, spitting, hitting, and incarceration; Martin Luther King chose to stand up for justice and equality. Despite the lives of his family being threatened, despite knowing very well that he would probably lose his own life; he still chose to become the voice of a generation, of a people who were at the time very counter-cultural because, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

I would like to think I could have made the same choices but in all honesty if I had been in his shoes; I do not know if I could have made those courageous choices; and the civil liberties that I enjoy now probably would not be in place.  My mother would be drinking from the “Whites only” fountain and my father, the “Negroes only” fountain; and I in turn might not even be here. I am the generation reaping the benefits of the civil rights accomplishments due to men and women with brave voices and empowering choices.  I AM GRATEFUL!

I ponder the reality of that era since I like many other children who grew up in the post-civil rights movement are disconnected to the history and experience.  But then, I think that was the whole point!  Was it not to fight for rights and freedoms future generations could enjoy without the agony and strife?

In honor and respect for this man I read the entire “I have a Dream” speech that has become famous.  I like you are very familiar with well known lines that stream every MLK day; “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise and live the true meaning of its creed:  We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”.  Yet, reading through the whole speech I grew in knowledge and in awe of the beauty of his words and the truth that we are all connected together, this human race.

We have incredible choices and his words encourage making tough ones that require thought, compassion and at times sacrifice; “To not hate, to not seek revenge to not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred”.

The Turning Stone Process seemed to be innate to Dr. King’s philosophy to inter-act and not react to the immense hatred; to pause and not think from a place of pain and hurt; which many felt justified.  The TSC process calls individuals to inter-act, to make choices from the inside. Thus, creating positive choices and building better self-esteem from those choices and interactions.

We can hold Dr. King as an Ambassador of the Turning Stone Process as we come to celebrate and observe what many are calling a day of Service on January 21.   May we as American Citizens honor Dr. King through our own courageous choices; gifting the next generation with unparallel benevolence and a remarkable future.

~Sammy