Saturday, January 24, 2009

Martin Luther King Day @ NMH

Ezi was honored to be selected at his school, NMH, to give the opening benediction for the school assembly this past Monday on Martin Luther King day. I think Ezi captured the spirit, if not the cadence, of MLK's voice, aspirations and persuasion. I only wish I'd been a church mouse in the NMH chapel so that I could have heard my son deliver his remarks, with MLK's, to the assembly. No doubt, I would have been touched, as I am when I read these honest words from the heart & soul of a sixteen year old discovering his American roots... KDL

Let Us Be Silent

Two score and six years ago, my brother and my sisters, One Man stood in front of a nation, One Man stood in front of a world, One Man stood in front of an institution and made his voice echo from the cityscape of Washington D.C. to the ears of the American people, made his voice ring from the hills of America to the mountains of the world, made his voice heard from the steps of Lincoln Memorial to the halls of the White House — that institution was the institution of injustice, the injustice of segregation — that man was Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who stood and said to the world, “I have a dream!”

Today, my friends, we celebrate this man—for life works in mysterious ways and five years after his famous march on Washington Martin Luther King was assassinated. Hatred is a curious thing for at times its power to destroy seems to be so much greater than love’s power to create. At times its power to gnaw and bite at goodness seems to be stronger than love’s power to heal and mend, but don’t let it fool you for it is love that carried Dr. King to the steps of Lincoln Memorial, not hatred, it is love that brought Abraham Lincoln to declare the Emancipation Proclamation, not hatred, it is love that kept generations of slaves strong and united, not hatred, and it is love that brings us here together on this day, not hatred.

Sadly hate is an epidemic that seems to be intent on destroying as much as it can and even today we are surrounded by hatred. Not a day passes where someone is not a target of hatred—whether it is because of the color of their skin, their beliefs, their sexual orientation, or their nationality, hatred is an enemy which we fight every day; and often times this hatred comes from preconceived notions. But we, just as Dr. King, have a chance to make a change in the way we live our lives because if there was ever anyone who showed the world that one man could make a difference it was Dr. King.

In the large spectrum of the world each of us as individuals has only the power to control ourselves and for that reason I implore each of us to, in the spirit of Dr. King, be ‘the change you see in the world.’

I am not here to tell everyone what they should do, I neither know nor deserve to tell people what they should do, I merely wish to commemorate a hero of mine, Dr. King for showing all of us that a single grain of rice can tip the scale.

As we prepare to usher in Barack Obama to the White House tomorrow I ask us all to think back to twenty-six years ago when another man ushered in a time of change for the world — the symbolism is extraordinary. This isn’t about being black or white; this is about celebrating our diversity, recognizing it and together with our hands clasped tightly together making this world a better place. This week, as we commemorate the legacy of this man, I ask you all to immerse yourself in the events that have been prepared and begin our path to creating a better future.

To quote Martin Luther King Jr.,

“Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring — when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Let us be silent.

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