Today, on this day of service and remembrance, I have been focusing on two phrases,
“Civil people for civil rights” – This phrase was written on a poster held by one of the marchers in Selma. We went to an art exhibit Saturday night of photos taken during the march on Selma, where Martin Luther King, Jr spoke to hundreds of civil rights protesters. When I think about MLK, I often think about him as a historical figure, but the quote reminded me that the struggle for civility is ongoing. Treating one another civilly is hard. It is hard enough for spouses, loved ones, people who work together everyday. To also treat people civilly who you do not know, people who profess different beliefs or who are acting based on a very different understanding of the world, that is a very great challenge. People like MLK, who made that his life’s work are awe inspiring.
“Speak truth to power” – I spent some time today volunteering, preparing for my role as a StartingBloc mentor. At last year’s StartingBloc institute, I was struck by something that our speaker, Houston Spencer said, “Speak truth to power”. It is such a simple and powerful way to think about changing unjust systems. Sure, the lessons about building relationships and creating lasting change are just as important, but that phrase helps me see what great change makers across history had in common.
How are you remembering, celebrating or serving on this day?