Dr. King & the Struggle

About once a year I stumble across a reason to go to Washington, D.C. A few years ago I spoke at the national Children’s Defense Fund conference; last year I was “on assignment” profiling a youth program ran by a friend in town. This year I’m attending an national “invitation-only” summit called “Blazing the Trail: A New Direction for Youth Development & Leadership“. I am most looking forward to hearing Karen Pittman talk about the state of youth leadership and youth development today, primarily because she wrote about this work ten years ago – I want to hear her still sound fresh about it.

Every time I visit this city, I like to sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and ponder, imagine and daydream about what has happened there, and what could yet come forward. I think about Marian Anderson and Abe and the Million Man March and Forrest Gump (yes, Forrest Gump). But mostly I wonder about Dr. King. Here’s a quote of his that stays in my head:

“Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: – ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mean are created equal.'”

That is it – the stuff of greatness right there. It was not enough to call the individual out, like Bull Conor, and simply say, “You can change!” It wasn’t enough to challenge a congregation and say, “You can transform!” Not a city or a state, either – but the nation – Dr. King took on the nation. Whenever I dwell on King, I am immediately taken to a stronger thought and a deeper place within myself, and I feel like I understand a little more than I did before. I guess I should dwell on King a little more for that reason.

One of the stated outcomes of the “Blazing the Trail” summit is “Increased youth-guided policy making at the Federal, state and local levels”. That reminds me of another King-ism:

“A right delayed is a right denied.”

That’s it – that is it. That is why I dwell on Dr. King. His words offer guidance and direction in today’s troubled times and for today’s modern youth movement. Thanks, Dr. King – I only hope we can possibly live up to the dream.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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