Safely home finally from the National Summit for my fellowship with Young People For and the closing statements are still ringing in my ears. The only female and ‘african-american’ representative from Minnesota reminded the fellows that progress goes only as far as you are willing to take it. Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day – we engage in community service, leadership conferences, and remember the amazing contributions of a person who most would agree was more than an ordinary man. What that is, isn’t so easy to define.
Today at the last day of the National Summit I experienced an incredible energy. Our last session with our state groups we joined in a circle, holding hands, and spoke of our inspirations. The human contact and the energy of those few fellows was nearly overwhelming, no joke. The closing ceremonies and wrap-ups were just as powerful. The energy and fire in the hand of lady liberty was replicated and immensly intensified by the fire of passion in that auditorium of the NEA.
The power and passion and energy in that final session was overwhelming. And through all the speakers and fellows speaking I was so impassioned that and my own energy was so built up that I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream and release this fire. I looked around the auditorium and I saw the future of America, I saw the future of our world. I saw the future because I know that I will see everyone of the fellows later in life – holding an office or running a progressive movement organization. I know that I will see everyone with great leadership roles in the future changing the future of America with passion!
I remember the CEO of YP4 bringing up Kennedy’s speech in South Africa, talking about the ripple effect of each person and as more people join on the ripples grow. Each person has the potential to make a difference in the world, we just need to decide what kind of a difference we will make and further joined with one another we can make a huge difference. We are the tsunami of change that this country and world is waiting for. We will wash out the halls of government where stagnation is unbearable. We will clear the minds of those who have forgotten the ideals that our great country is founded upon and we will instill a belief in equal rights for all people. There will not be enough buckets for the extreme right to bail out of the hole they have dug. Progress will soar to the fore-front and our actions will defeat the opposition’s rhetoric.
To paraphrase something a fellow said during a fishbowl, “we walk not because we are heading to a promised land, but we walk because it is progress. . .” Last night I stood on the Lincoln Memorial steps where Martin Luther King Jr. stood to deliver his speech on civil rights. It was an amazing site, looking out on the reflecting pool and the surrounding area, imagining a mass of people filling the the steps and surrounding area to a breaking point, and dreaming of the day when the next great progressive leader will deliver a speech to re-invigorate and enlighten America. After this MLK day join the walk, step by step we will bring back the progressive ideals that appeal to all people. What will you do tomorrow?