I was born and raised in the South, and have spent the better part of my career working for the disenfranchised members of our community who often live in abject poverty, suffering from homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS. As a storyteller, I have the means to give voice to the voiceless.My mother raised me to be aware of what’s happening in the world around me–but also to be an active part of the very community in which I live. I ask questions; I speak up when it’s necessary; I praise when I have opportunity.
I also work hard to see past the obvious physical barriers of gender, race, culture, and age. Because everybody needs help at some point. Everybody needs a moment of grace and a second chance. Everybody wants safe, secure housing for their families and full bellies in their children. And everybody wants to live a peaceful life.
So I take a moment to pay homage to the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, for his nonviolent methods following Mahatma Gandhi, for his civil rights activism, for his liberalism, for his focus on ending poverty and the Vietnam War, and for his hopes for a color blind society.
I thought this was quite an important observation of Dr. King’s:
All I’m saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I am a great optimist, and a big believer that actions speak louder than words. Today, on this Day of Service, I’m working on an HIV/AIDS grant.
Are you being all you can be? I’m trying.