"The Dream" continues...
On January 20, 2020, I had the immense honor of representing the Town of Garrett Park, MD at the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday celebration at the Music Center at Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda, Md.
At the pre-event reception, I was delighted to meet with the local county officials and volunteer organizations such as, Mr. James L. Stowe (Director of the Office of Human Rights), County Executive Marc Elrich, Mayra Bayonet (Legislative Senior Aide for Council member Gabe Albornoz), and Tiffany Ward (County Community Engagement Cluster). The MLK, Jr. Commemorative Committee had done a splendid job hosting and organizing the reception.
From the reception, all attendees were personally escorted to the front rows of the auditorium. There ensued a rousing, two-hour presentation that brought the house to its feet with inspirational speeches by Marc Elrich, Wisdom Alexander Martin and his dad, Wisdom Martin (Fox 5 anchor and host of Good Day DC), Council member William Jawando. The evening was further enhanced by the magnetic dance performances like "No Backing Down" by Dem' Raider Boyz which told the story of protest against discriminatory practices at the local Glen Echo park, and the vocal performances of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by the Strathmore Children's Chorus, and "Change is Gonna Come" by young Kelvin Dukes and "Total Praise," by Grammy-award winner Ronnie Diamond Hoard. The was a well-attended event with a packed auditorium full of adults and kids alike.
And while it was essential to take this one day to commemorate the service of a great leader, I think of the road ahead. We as a society still have miles to go in spreading the message of equality and non-violence. It is important to note how every step and each change in social norms begins with one single step. As we wait for others to fight the injustices, we must remember that the first step to do so must always come from within ourselves. Dr. King, Jr. was much inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence which eventually delivered India from decades of foreign rule. We must embody this principle in our lives when conflict rises, and remember loving-kindness as a core tool in promoting a sense of communal well-being. Krishna consciousness, Gautam Buddha's and Jesus Christ's teachings all promote a quality of being one with humanity. This is the essence of non-violence, in my opinion. A disruptive and destructive act against even one human is an act against ourselves. Instead of observing socio-political and geographical divisions, we must see ourselves as inhabitants of the same planet.
After all, when seen from space, the Earth has none of the man-made divisions visible.