Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Martin Luther King’

A Boomer’s Introspection on The Purpose

“You are not an accident. Even before the universe was created, God had you in mind, and he planned you for His purposes. These purposes will extend far beyond the years you will spend on earth.” Those thought provoking words are from Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life.

As Baby Boomers come closer to the end of our road, some are pondering our objective for being here. Although I once had a firm conviction about purpose, I am beginning to question my own thinking on that subject.

For years, I have been among those who believe that every individual was created by our maker for a specific purpose; and I suspect that our personal goals are secondary to the purpose for which we were born. I also wonder, are our personal goals commingled – unbeknownst to us  – with our purpose for being here? And, if we do all have a purpose and the purpose of some people is to do basically good things – like strive for world peace or, on a smaller scale, improve a chaotic society – then what is the purpose of evil doers?  

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The Trip of a Lifetime

The dedication and grand opening of the new Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington DC will be held on August 28, 2011. Baby Boomers may recall that the date coincides with the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington – a  political rally supporting civil and economic rights for Black Americans. It was at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963, where Dr. King delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech. My own Aunt Sarah, then a civil rights minded school teacher traveled from New York City and was among the number of proud participants at that historic event where the crowd was estimated at between 200,000 to 300,000.  It is anticipated that attendees at the upcoming dedication will surpass those figures.

Numerous events are scheduled prior to the official dedication on August 28, including concerts, luncheons, and a Dream Gala.

President Barack Obama will deliver remarks during the Dedication Ceremony on August 28. Other high profile personalities expected to play a role in the dedication ceremony and activities in the preceding week include Congressman John Lewis, Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Joseph Lowery,  General Colin Powell, Tom Brokaw, Maya Angelou, radio personality “The “Fly Jock” Tom Joyner, actor Jamie Fox, filmmaker George Lucas, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and that isn’t the half of them.

Hotels in the District including the Embassy Suites are offering packaged deals including special rates, all-day Metro Passes and other commemorative benefits for those coming to the dedication. Numerous organizations from around the country are busing participants to the event that The Raleigh, NC/Wake Martin Luther King Celebration Committee calls the “Trip of a Lifetime.”



“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Those words of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speak proficiently about people who talk the talk and walk the walk; ideally his words would also motivate closet activist, people who hesitate to speak up or take action at the opportune time.  We all know someone who loud-talks up a storm behind the scenes, complaining about what “somebody” should or should not say or do to get something done, but when the occasion arises for the whiner to speak publicly about the issue, his or her jaws lock tighter than a hard shell clam.

I believe that some people are born activists, while others grow into those shoes. It doesn’t matter how they arrive at being a crusader, what is significant is that at some point they learn the importance of speaking out and championing their cause, whether it is a global effort like Going Green or working to eliminate homelessness in their community.  Activists are generally mindful of their Ps and Qs – they prepare, participate, and when necessary, they question. Then, they pursue a course to affect the cause that they are championing – whether it means joining their colleagues in a public protest, taking part in a fact finding survey, or casting a vote.

On the other hand closet activists avoid publicly stating their opinion, preferring to cower in the shadows and grumble instead of taking a stand.  No one is right or wrong all of the time.  Sometimes we make good choices, other times bad.  But regardless, the point is — express yourself.  Whether you support a cause or totally disagree with it.  Man or woman up!  Let your position be known. 

People who have the opportunity to speak up and refuse, basically deserve whatever they get from the outcome of a decision by the majority.  Life is a crapshoot, a gamble.  Each one of us – from the President of the United States to the homeless person on the street – has only limited control over some things and absolutely no control over other things.  It is liberating to be able to state a position.  You may change your mind later on, you may even regret a decision, but you can feel pleased that you at least had enough backbone to assert yourself.   Any coward can opt out. In the words of Malcolm X, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”