Dr. Martin Luther King Day, its about building communities

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in diversity | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Here in the US it is Dr. Martin Luther King day. It is one of our national holidays. To commemorate the day, people are encouraged to use it as a day of service, instead of a just another day off. This is because Dr. King was all about giving back, and building communities.

Today many people will recite or listen to Dr. King’s famous I have a dream speech, but that is not my favorite speech. My favorite speech is the one he gave the night before he died, it is sometimes called the mountaintop speech. He gave this speech to the striking sanitation workers in Memphis. He had come to the realization that the struggle was not just a struggle for people of color, but it was a struggle for all poor people. Dr King saw the need to connect everyone in the community, that the only way for individuals to overcome was to strengthen and support everyone in the community.

This background of civil rights is actually where I learned about community management. I went to Florida State University, which is in the deep south. I had the privilege of working under the direction of folks who participated in the civil rights movement. They helped me understand how connecting the Native students, the American Indian Movement, the local tribal leaders, and the faculty and staff was important to the overall community at FSU. They helped me understand how vital it is to connect all. And also what hard work it is to give of yourself to break down misunderstandings and prejudices that prevent people from making these connections on their own.

Connect all. We need to make sure everyone is along for the ride, because we need everything to make the changes stick.

I miss those days at FSU, where I could participate fully in the MLK Day activities. I will just have to be happy with reflecting about this here, and sharing my favorite speech with you all.

Martin Luther King, Jr: “Mountaintop” speech full length from Filip Goc on Vimeo.

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