Today we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Day.
A remarkably brave man and one with a great vision.
It is our country's only national holiday that is solely committed to the
honoring of social and racial justice.
Today it is our chance to look back, be grateful for and reflect on one
of the most important movements of our time.
An opportunity to use these past experiences, as a road map for the
ongoing fight for equality and justice.
Just what does a Martin Luther King Jr. of today look like?
What would he and his other civil leaders make of what is going on today?
It was after all the founding father's reality of an America, founded on ideals inherently
woven into one cloth that mandated freedom for all.
Today as a country of imperfect people, we must be perfectly committed to
making that dream a reality of making it a country of equals.
As I've written and for thos that know me personally, you know that I have been blessed
to have had many chance meetings and opportunities to meet
some very special and unique people.
People who served our country in one way or another and or their own,
to name two our own Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, and Mexico's President,
Vicente Fox Quesada.
I have also the great privelge of an on going friendship with one of
Martin Luther King Jr.'s close friends, and Lieutenants,
(at the time of the civil rights movement), the Rev. C.T. Vivian.
Years ago I was asked to help bring diversity to our company.
We found Rev. CT Vivian's leadership oriented teachings, at his company
which was then called, BASICS or Black Action Strategies and Information Center.
It was a company based out of Atlanta that he and one of his sons Mark ( a recently
retired ex-Army officer) had founded back in the late 70's.
We brought Dr. Vivian in to teach our corporate executives and later our employees
He ended up being invited back several years in a row and his workshops
became part of a mandatory leadership building course for all of our management.
I was the one asked to ensure that Dr. CT Vivian was met at the airport and driven to
and from his hotel room to our corporate offices during the duration of the
three day wrokshops.
We also shared lunch and dinner together and we got to know each other on a
more personal level.
He continues to be an eloquent, and inspiring man, one full of charisma
and I might add a very keen sense of humor.
But it was his enlightenment and guidance soon after, that led us to developing
our own corporate diversity initiative.
We later wrote, got approval for and implemented our own employee
diversity programming, and work place policies.
I was proud to have been a founding member of our International's company's
Corporate Diversity board of Directors.
Dr. Vivian's personal stories about MLK and his own were as inspiring then
as they are today.
He worked for Dr. King in Chicago, in Selma and in Alabama.
He organized one of the first sit-ins, and rode on the first Freedom bus into
Jackson Mississippi among some of his many exeriences.
He always ends his letters or e-mails with "Keep fighting the good fight."
I believe that was Dr. King's mandate for all of us.
We must continue to fight to ensure that our coming generations know
the history and the great struggles and sacrifices that were made by these
brave men and women in the name of racial justice, and equality.
Today we commermorate his day with prayer and more importantly as a day of service.
I would ask that no matter where you find yourself today, to seek opportunities
to serve others.
To speak up when you hear racist remarks.
To give a hand up to anyone that may be marginalized.
Here in the USA you can begin at your local church or temples,
or a service organizations.
You can also look up the official National Service Day website,
and just plug in your zip code and find out what's
going on in your area by clicking on : http://mlkday.gov.
I am reminded of one of the many talks that he said MLK gave,
one was called," The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life.”
He gave it at the New Covenant Baptist Church of Chicago Illinois,
back on April 9, 1967.
In it Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about there being three dimensions
of a more complete life: it's having length, breadth, and height.
The length of life as he stated was the inward concern for one’s own welfare.
One where we all needed to push ourselves forward, to achieve our own goals,
and our own ambitions.
Second was "The breadth of life," or an outward concern for the welfare of others.
The last one was, "The height of life." which was the upward reach for God.
He further stated that we need all three to have a more complete life.
We must all learn that there is nothing greater than to do something for another.
That what we do day in and day out matters to someone.
That there is no bigger sacrifice than one where we go out of our way
to do more for one another.
Life when it comes down to it isn't about what we were able to accumulate,
but how we were able to share what we did have with others.
What can you do to make your life a more complete one?
So today I thank you for serving, and whether you can give of your time,
or money or both.. always give to a cause.
Make it a great día.