Just days after images of death and horror from the mass shooting at a high school in Florida filled our TV and digital screens, we are now being jarred by coverage of the funerals for 15 young people and the two adults who perished with them.
As Martin Luther III declared yesterday during a visit to Richmond, Virginia, the fact that such secondary trauma is now routine has resulted in a nation living with post traumatic stress, in perpetual fight-or-flight mode, with a desensitization to the taking of human life.
“Until we change the culture, we’re not going to address the issue,” Mr. King told a roomful of attentive listeners of all ages and ethnicities during a talk at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Yet, he went on to assert that it all starts with individual decisions to do what’s right, to listen to one’s conscious, to follow through with integrity.
As he shared his thoughts on human rights and reminisced about the special times he could remember spending with his father before losing Dr. King when he was 10, I couldn’t help but wonder how, 50 years after Dr. King’s murder, Mr. King maintains hope for a better future. He answered for me (and likely others) before the question was verbally uttered.
“I had to learn to hate the evil act and not the person. I’m thankful for the Spirit that teaches you to forgive.”
Even so, he called on each person within earshot to do something, whether locally, nationally or globally, to change their communities and the world for the better.
I too, issue that challenge, in my own way, through the words that follow:
We all can do something to make a difference.
Listen. Be present.
Go out of your way.
Give others a chance.
Be your sister’s keeper,
your brother’s armor bearer.
Call a local official.
Start a petition.
Laugh together, cry together.
Hug it out. Press on.
Use your words for good.
Use your innate gifts for best.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
All these things?? This is what a change for the better requires. Daily.
Will you (we) embrace the call?
Our world sure needs you (us).
© Stacy Hawkins Adams