23rd Annual Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther
Are You Guilty?
What about you? Are we all guilty?
Think about it. How often do we pass by someone who may need a hand? How often do we give thoughtful consideration to someone who may not be as well off as we are? How often do we sacrifice ourselves in the name of love...
Part of lifes' difficulties arise when we choose to step out of our personal confines and into someone else's. Doing so is a challenge because it requires a special strength. The strength to love. To Love is the most powerful thing that any human being can do. Loving destroys hate, eliminates ignorance and build positivity. Positivity that is much needed in such a negative world as our own. Positivity that will aid us in resolving the worlds present day issues.
You see the problem with today's problems is that they come from many sources, some more clandestine than others. Can you pin point the cause of the increase in Black on Black violence to a single culprit? What about the high percentages of AIDS in the Black community? Then there is materialism, greed, low personal expectations and self worth, disunity and on and on. Though the causes of these are hidden the effects are quite apparent. There is no single formula to save the world, but there is a power...
That is the power of love. Universal self sacrificing, all enduring L O V E. This was the power, the strength that Dr. King wielded with the skill and passion of a true warrior. In order to love we must do as Dr. Martin Luther King did and develop tough minds and cultivate tender hearts. As members of one of the most prestigious scientific institutions in the world we have a responsibility to utilize our abilities. Our science must be used to scrutinize and identify the problems of our people. Then our faith must be used to interpret and rectify them.
All this done in the name of love. Dr. King found the strength to love at a time when it seemed that doing so was against the law. Today February 6, 1997 if love was against the law would you be guilty, what about you, would we all be guilty???
First, I would like to express my thanks to the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee for allowing me to speak today.
Today when I reflect upon the impact of the life of Dr. King (and countless others like him), I am personally filled with a deep sense of gratitude.
Today, I am grateful that I can be a farm boy from Lowndes County, Alabama, and that I can be an engineer.
Today I am grateful that I can walk into a voting booth in my hometown of Hayneville, Alabama, where in 1965, a young white minister from New Hampshire named Jonathan Daniels was gunned down in broad daylight for helping with black voter registration.
Today I am grateful that I could walk across the Edmund Pettis Bridge to Selma, Alabama, and expect to be served in any restaurant, and to be allowed to drink from any water fountain.
Today I am grateful to Dr. King and to those of his generation for bringing America from the land of slavery, Jim Crow, and legalized oppression, to the very door of the Promised Land.
In the spirit of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, Dr. King and those of his generation are to be commended for their faith, even though they did not recieve the things promised, but only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.
In the spirit of the twelfth chapter of the Book of Hebrews, the challenge for our presend generation is to throw off everything that hinders (hatred, bitterness, compacency, apathy), and to run with perseverance the race marked out for us. When faced with the opposition of the status quo, we are to not grow weary and lose heart.
Then, and only then, in the eyes of the Creator, would the life and legacy of Dr. King and his generation be made perfect.