YOU HAVE A PURPOSE. I have a purpose.

Last night I went to bed so encouraged. I realized after watching the PBS documentary BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE—my life has significant meaning and purpose and I encourage you to reflect on what you can do and where you can continue to best serve humanity.

Dr. Henry Gates, Jr.’s exploration of the past 50 years of the Civil Rights movement reminded me that the struggle for civil rights had it’s up and down and far from secured. I realized my life’s purpose is not yet done. We all have a calling–what is yours?

I recollected that I shared dinner and prayer with Rosa Parks, I have been embraced and told “you are lovely” by Coretta Scott King, I have shared the platform with Senator Julian Bond, enjoyed a special conversation with Congressman Andrew Young, I was introduced to Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael) Civil Rights activist in my UO undergraduate days and was encouraged by Dr. Derrick Bell (Harvard and UO Dean) to care about the Faces at the Bottom of the Well and seek UO Law School. My life has been anything but ordinary as General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. took my hands and prayed with me and for my sons after becoming a single-parent. Brothers and Sisters–fear and doubt always abound but we must face directly what we fear the most.

Being greeted and encouraged by President Jimmy Carter—numerous Governors and Senators throughout my life reminded me we all have a responsibility with the mantle of leadership even if we are not acknowledged. There have been many Civil Rights leaders who did not make it in to Dr. Gates documentary but they have all contributed to this important movement of humanity which women and LGBTQ and other civil rights struggles have benefited. We all desire to be “seen” as human beings with a special gift and unqiue purpose. My most inspirational moment is the deep embrace and words of encouragement from Dr. Maya Angelou who (I believe) passed me the torch of individual responsibility to actively and continually work for change. My purpose definitely includes civil and human rights–that’s why I will never give up. We must keep going brothers and sisters because as Dr. King cautioned “injustice anywhere is indeed injustice everywhere,”

Yes–our nation has progressed considerably in five decades but the struggle is far from over. One election, four years of uncertainty will not deter my passion nor dilute my purpose. In my heart, through my personal experience and in contemplative prayer this is by far the most important cause I/we will ever embrace. This “struggle” is for the greater good of all–even though–those who least understand or embrace civil and human rights constrain or close their hearts. I appreciate Dr. Gates documentary–he reminded me of all of the important changes the civil rights movement brought to the United States of America and throughout the world. The documentary encouraged me to be encouraged, pray about my/your purpose—never give in and never ever give up. We all have a dream for a more humane nation and a healthier world.

<3 Rising Sun #risetoexcellence #bethe change

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