Wednesday, August 28, 2013

March on Washington 50th anniversary

In a few short minutes, bells will be ringing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of MLK's I Have a Dream speech, delivered at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

As I've looked more deeply at that event, I've been inspired by so much that went on there, far beyond MLK's speech.

For example, this site of artifacts had three things in particular that I found meaningful.

First, a "Statement by the heads of the ten organizations calling for discipline in connection with the Washington March of August 28, 1963," which I encourage you to read in full. What I loved about it was the tone it struck that matches for me Jesus' call to turn the other cheek:
"It will be orderly, but not subservient. It will be proud, but not arrogant. It will be nonviolent, but not timid. It will be unified in purposes and behavior, not splintered into groups and individual competitors. It will be outspoken, but not raucous."

I also was struck by the list of demands, which were clear, discrete, achievable, and addressed to those who could achieve them:

I'd like to see more of that today. And I know there are people who do a good job of being clear in their objectives for justice, but it drives me crazy when we vaguely want things to Be Better Than They Are. I think we can learn a lot from the specificity of this list. Because, really, who doesn't want things to Be Better Than They Are?

Here's how these have or haven't been met as of today. Clearly, we have some things to celebrate and more to work on. 

Finally, Mahalia Jackson. Because the passion. Sing it.

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