Jan 22, 2014

Remember, Don't Forget, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK Day 2014
By now most, and I'd put it at a very high majority, of Americans have put the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day activities and messages clearly in their rear-view mirrors. That's unfortunate; almost tragic. With our collective interests focused on ---the next thing--- and our increasing individual short attention spans even something as meaningful as the legacy of Dr. King tends to fade from top of mind. The weather, the airline delays, Target layoffs, the latest governor scandal, The Superbowl, basketball wagers and the potential terrorist threat more than 5000 miles away have all shoved Dr. King out of the front pages. A life's work for a cause impacting millions of Americans shoved out by the Superbowl line. We truly have some issues as a nation, as a culture. 

Our service host/emcee delivered perhaps the most succinct charge on behalf of Dr. King: "Treat others as you would treat yourself.  I wouldn't hit myself, I wouldn't shoot myself, I wouldn't talk bad about myself…..because I love myself". 

She also made the point that King was about far more than the I Have A Dream speech. In fact, he delivered hundreds upon hundreds of notable sermons and messages, several notable ones can be read here: MLK Jr's Speeches.  

We selected the service at the National Cathedral for a few reasons, some as simple as timing and showing off the cathedral to our Tucson guest. 

Claire & Amy Silencing Phones @ National Cathedral

One we didn't know of until a few minutes into the ceremony took over as my favorite: that the large pulpit at the front of the great hall was the site of the final Sunday sermon Dr. King ever delivered. Part of the recording of that sermon was replayed during the ceremony, sort of a chilling reminder. It's long--and well worth the read for the patient. 

While the service wasn't as we expected; we anticipated more about Dr. King's teaching, perhaps even more recorded sermons. Instead we were treated to more than two hours of largely black-American edu-tainment. Spoken word, song and dance all powerfully delivered and sprinkled with messages of hope and peace. I was moved enough to make my own personal pledge, inspired in part from his that final Sunday sermon. 

In that speech he says, '……through scientific and technological genius we have made this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make it a brotherhood. ….we must all learn to leave together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly."

Pledges typically must be simple to be repeated--to be sustainable. Mine is.  

Part I: Create and leave the smallest footprint reasonably possible. 
Part II: Be nicer

If I use less I'll consume less. If I consume less factories will need to produce less. If factories produce less perhaps/hopefully wealth-motivated owners may make a couple pennies less in turn lessening the unsustainable wealth gap. Yeah, it's not much. In fact it barely registers but it's one thing I can do on a consistent basis. 

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