Over fifty years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.. Since that day, there have been periods in our nation’s history when we have believed that we are close to making MLK’s dream of justice and equality a reality. There are also current reminders that show we have quite a long way to go. A question I’ve found myself asking as I ponder the debates about race and immigration is “Can anything good come from all this hate?”
I believe the answer is “Yes!”
The pressing can lead to a greater understanding of identity if we are open to it.
Consider the story of Maya Angelou as told in her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The suffering she experienced as a young woman defined her, not as a victim but as an overcomer.
What about Richard Wright’s autobiography of his early life, Black Boy? Like Angelou, Wright proved his resilience. He lived to tell his story of the Jim Crow South, giving us all a better understanding of what was, what is, and what can be.
Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, Mary McLeod Bethune, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells and countless others give testimony to the value of living with Purpose – determination; setting goals; finding a reason for being.
Not only do these courageous people inspire us, but their stories of triumph give us permission to be our best selves. Sometimes it is tempting for me to look at my own difficulties and try to find comfort in self-pity and regret. However, as my friend, Dr. Shree Walker declares, “Who goes through all that hell to be mediocre? Greatness is the only option.” Therefore, I’ve recommitted myself to using my time, talent, and treasure to make a difference in this world.
As Paul says, “We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5, CEB).
This hope is to be shared with others. Take heart! As my brother Cirvant writes, “Crawl, but don’t quit!”
Tips for Families:
- Provide a safe space. – Our children pick up on our anxiety. Give them time to ask questions and have dialogue with you about what is happening in our world.
- Keep watch on your words. – Our words are powerful. Use your words to build up your neighbors and your community, near and far.
- Offer multicultural reading selections. – Fill your home library with stories from people of every tribe, tongue, and nation. We can learn so much from our global family.
- Be intentional about building community. – Invite diverse families for a picnic or a bonfire. Outdoor activities are a great way to keep safe while remaining socially distant.