A few things. I’ve been fascinated with MLK and the Civil Rights Movement since I was maybe in 8th grade and got to go on a school trip to D.C. I bought an MLK poster there and hung it on my wall and since then I’ve read the trilogy on MLK and the Civil Right movement by Taylor Branch.
I was idealistic at the time and all those ideas still appeal to me. MLK, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the influencers. How is that relevant today? Who are the influencers now, who will come forward with hope and leadership?
So with all the sacrifices made during the Civil Rights movement to move our country forward to equity and equality, look where we are today? There has been much made that a sitting president is echoing the words of Alabama Governor George Wallace’s decree that where there is looters, there should be shooters. “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?” MLK. That was in 1966. Sadly it’s still relevant today.
I had a lights on perspective after reading Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Malcolm X’s Biography. There is no way growing up white in American, one can ever know what that experience is like. You can say you empathize and believe in your core that people are people…but you can never know, you can never understand. We haven’t lived in that skin. We haven’t walked in those shoes. We haven’t had to be afraid being pulled over by police nor coach our children how to behave around police in fear for their lives.
I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.The end is in the beginning and lies far ahead. – Ralph Ellison
You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.
You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it. – Malcolm X
So to close this off, it’s about influencers. Those you have looked up to. Having people from history you’d like to model your values after is one thing, but having people that have touched your life in very formative years, that’s bringing it down to the every day, the actionable. Kathy Baze passed away last night. She was a counselor but she also was the person that brought The Fellowship of Christian Athletes to Grapevine and Colleyville Middle Schools. She also led that group at Grapevine High School. She influence so many lives and even if we’ve arrived in different places in our lives today, taken different paths in our spiritual journey, she created a community, a safe place, made you really think about doing the right thing when no one was looking. Those things stick with me today. She had love to give and it was unconditional for all. We could use that today. Thank you Kathy Baze, the influencer. The open-hearted kind person. I couldn’t find a picture of her from old annuals and FB postings which surprised me, so I’ll just leave this here.