Monday, January 19, 2009
Three very powerful letters, when strung together remind me of a figure so prominent, so strong in the movement of social justice. May we pay Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute this day as we recognize our country has much work to do in the arena of equality. For, we live in a world of "...and justice for some." Let us also keep in the forefront of our minds that this man who created a movement across the world, and more specifically in our own country was murdered in cold blood simply because of his efforts to create equality among Americans. Yes, I will dwell on the macabre fact that someone pre-meditatively selected his or her own process for ending the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. Someone consciously chose to end his life. It is easy to let this event stand in our minds- as an object of history, and difficult for this event to forever exist in our hearts. We are separated from the reality of it all when we make it so cerebral.
The reason I so intensely reinforce this otherwise disgusting and reprehensible act of power, of silencing someone to the ultimate degree, is so that we, with the privilege of not needing to remember this fact, will not possibly forget. Is your life really that affected by Martin Luther King Jr.'s death? Were you ever really effected by his life, by his movement? I do not ask these questions rhetorically. I ask them without judgement upon the reader.
What I mean is this: I know that as a white male, and a person of great privilege in this country, I probably could have gone on plain as day with or without MLK- white people never had to use a separate bathroom, or go to a different school, ... Please take careful note of my words - I am merely saying that the dominant culture defined the way we would function and Dr. MLK beautifully challenged that paradigm, that institution of whiteness is rightness and he did so with eloquence, with compassion, with tenacity and a loving spirit towards all. He was the definition of the term passive resistance. Compassionate.
I want to hold on to my anger, to my angst towards his death. Someone had to kill him just because. period. Possibly they felt threatened? Possibly they viewed the world as all backwards and therefore justified the means to the end (thus furthering White power across the world). I want to hold on to my anger for a moment because in can be easy to forget. With our fast paced world of technology and super high speed communication, facts can be lost, experiences not fully processed, and thus, the value of the past lessened and certainly not remembered...
It is too easy to merely put a date on a calendar and say woopdie doo- thanks for keepin' it real and fighting the good fight Mr. King. It's too easy for some. I don't want that. I want us to acknowledge the atrocity of his death - partially so that we may not ever see another. His movement must be continued and we must be ready to fight until we can accurately say "... and justice for all."
That is my soap box for now. if my comments are alarming, I would love to engage in meaningful conversation and clarify anything that is odd or off-putting. I write this with love... may he never be forgotten. May his movement live on. ... We have work to do.
Whew- I didn't even expect for that to come out! I was just going to shoot out a quick update since I have been awol for the long haul. Not really- I have just been way busy in the field, etc.
But here I am! I am here and excited to share my recent adventures! So here goes...:
I was on the Service Bus with NCOBS for 2.5 months. That was intense. for more on that check out www.ncobs.org/bus.
This involved driving in a Blue Bird mini-bus around the country doing many fulfilling service projects and climbing, paddling, and hanging out with 6 other folks... We met some amazing people along the way and I am excited to share more stories in person with folks.
After Service Bus? We ended up in the Everglades, where I attended "returning staff expedition" where we poled through the saw grass of the Shark River - literally following water flow from Army Corps of Engineers controlled canals through the National Park, out to Highland Beach and Pavilion Key and then back to base at Everglades City. What an adventure..... all of that in 5 days! Can you imagine? Photos to come...
After that expedition, I adventured to the Bahamas for a 7 day Sea Kayak course. Sadly, it was our last course down there for a while, meaning they have shut down the Bahamas operations until further notice, but we made the best of it and ended on a positive note!
Then I returned and had two days off and it was back to work! I just completed a 5 day canoeing expedition with students from Miami's Ransom of the Everglades Upper School. Great set of students, challenging weather (freezing temps at night, 15-20 kt. head winds, 100 meter mud slogs with fully loaded canoes and sloppy Everglades mud banks up to our knees!). The experience was phenomenal for our crew...
Which brings me to now -- where I have been given the privilege to co-Course Direct for the second phase of Ransom students here at the NCOBS OBEC )Outward Bound Everglades Center).
Lightning round... I know. More later- pictures to come. I miss all of you...
the tides of change are upon us. may we support our great country and pay our influential members due tribute.