by Jim Winslow
Last week I had the good fortune to represent the Kent County Democrats at the Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations at GRCC. I walked the walk, I met the GRCC Black Student Union President and College Democrats Communications Director Arielle Brown, and heard the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
Besides meeting great people and enjoying some fine music and oratory, I was reminded of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s simple message: Do the right thing. Listen to your conscience and do the right thing. He didn’t ask this of us, he demanded it. He once said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
I also heard the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a renowned choral group from Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee, perform twice and both times I was transfixed by the faces of these young performers. The first night, I didn’t understand what was capturing me so. The second night I realized that in their faces were pride and honor, an absolute unity of purpose, and a confidence in their talent and trust in their comrades. Fisk University is a historically Black College created from the devastation of the Civil War, and the Jubilee Singers have been a part of that history for 150 years. In their eyes was the pride and purpose of one hundred and fifty years.
As chairperson of the Kent County Democratic Party, I was inspired by the way they combined history, talent, camaraderie and hard work to create something that enriches the lives of everyone who hears them perform. As Democrats, we have that same opportunity. Let’s take a lesson from the Jubilee Singers and use our history, talent and camaraderie to make 2014 a winning year.
We all have our best selves and our worst selves. These days there are many voices encouraging us to be our worst selves – to put me and mine over us and ours. It is easy to succumb, bit-by-bit, to disappointment and hard times and give your worst self permission to fear and distrust others.
As we continue to celebrate Martin Luther King’s life, we still need to be reminded not to listen to the voices telling us to back off and take care of number one. Fifty years later the fight remains. Fifty years later I need to be reminded to be my best self.