We Shall Overcome
What is justice? What is peace? What is protest? Who is right? Who is wrong? How can we change the world?
These questions are circulating among us today.
On December 10, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had the honor of the Nobel Peace Prize bestowed upon him.
Below is a selection from his speech upon accepting the award. I find it just as appropriate today as it was fifty years ago. I, too, believe that “right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”
I am not going to try to analyze this speech. I will let his words speak on their own.
I encourage you to read the entire speech. Visit: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/26142-martin-luther-king-jr-acceptance-speech-1964/
Selection from Dr. M.L. King, Jr., Acceptance Speech, December 10, 1964
Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.
After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. …
...nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. “And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.” I still believe that We Shall overcome!
Memorial Day 2020
I forgot that it was Sunday and almost didn't think to write!
As you do your best to keep dancing forward through life right now, take a moment tomorrow and pause to remember those who have sacrificed their lives so that you are able to keep dancing on.
While the saying goes, "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend," think about those who lay down their lives for people they don't even know.
We all touch others' lives without ever knowing it. It is good to recognize that others have touched your life and they don't know it.
Remember those who have been lost in service, and remember those who did love them. Each one was part of a community, a family and remain a valuable piece of their hearts.
Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.
I have recently noticed how often the sentence, "I am a dancer," comes up in conversation.
Often it is a response to the "occupation" line on the form at a doctor's office.
Somehow what started as my friend wanting me to try something new with her has turned into who I am.
Dance is something I do. Dance is also a big part of my identity.
Dance has made me stronger in body and mind.
Dance has made me more sociable.
Dance has provided me an ever-evolving perspective and insight into people and the way the world works.
People have their own unique culture, language/way of speaking, dreams, hopes, desires. They also have fears, burdens, sadness and darkness.
The interesting thing is dance is universal. It is our human way to express those feelings and thoughts. We can tell a story without speaking the same verbal language.
Dance can bring us together.
And we certainly could all use that right now.
Have a great week!
Keep dancing forward!
Dancing into Better Mental Health
Dancing is more than a physical activity. It is more than performance.
It is a way to improve mental and emotional health.
When I started my journey into dance, I had no idea the impact that it would have on me.
Physical effects are obvious. The mental effects are immeasurable!
Dance challenges me. I describe the feeling when I first started dancing as if I could feel the neurons in my brain creating new paths. So many different areas of the mind are engaged to dance.
Dance itself is a challenge to improve yourself - to improve who you are as a person.
Dance is an expression of self. It can be an escape from stress, an expression of sadness or joy, and a medium through which to process the wide range of human thoughts.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Particularly with our recent world-changes due to COVID-19, many are struggling with mental health issues. Some are experiencing deeper stress, anxiety and depression than they have before. Others are feeling the “extra” on top of their daily struggles.
Dance does not “fix” my mental illnesses. But it does give me a way to grow, to manage them, and to move through and keep going.
I hope you are finding ways to handle the stress of the world. You can always dance anywhere! No skill is required! Just allow your soul to emanate from your body. That is dance.
Keep dancing forward!