Hello and Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a magnificent break. Welcome back to school where, in our second week, the intensity of college has already resumed. I wish you all a productive and efficient start to a new quarter.
Of course, the “new year, new me” sentiments are running rampant at this point in 2018. I know resolutions are often physically oriented (i.e. run more, eat less), but I think there is a pressing need for mental resolutions as well. May I suggest learning more words in another language, so you can order food from your favorite ethnic restaurant more fluently? Or perhaps this is the year you finally read a more complex novel than See Spot Run. I mostly kid, but whatever your resolutions may be, I believe it is important to remember that what we change inwardly can have drastic effects on our outward perceptions and interactions.
Positivity supports a healthy mindset, and happiness is a choice. Maybe it’s time you consider forgiving that grudge. Maybe it’s time you decided to stand up for those who have no voice. Maybe it’s time to love unconditionally.
With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day passing recently, I think it is appropriate to dwell on this notion of mental resolutions. This year marks the 55th anniversary of his influential “I Have a Dream” speech. Made during his march on Washington, he took the opportunity to outline his deepest desires for a nation at war with itself.
I took the opportunity to read through the text of that speech—as I would encourage you to do also—and was left with chills of excitement, and a little despair. I was forced to think upon the current state of our nation. I had to ask myself if we have progressed toward, or regressed away from, that vision Dr. King so eloquently described in the summer of 1963.
A line from the speech that I found particularly powerful was this: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright days of justice emerge.” In 2018, is there injustice? Is there still racial prejudice? Do we still feel the need for change? Again, let us think upon the mental resolutions we have the opportunity, the necessity even, of making while we enter a new year fraught with uncertainty.
Far from inciting rebellion, I simply urge you to ask what you can do for your fellow neighbors of these United States. The same man who strongly protested inequality did so with this in mind: “I believe,” King said, “that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
Truth and love. Not militancy and conquest, but an insurmountable ocean of “soul force” that can overcome even the hardest of hearts. King cautioned his listeners saying, “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
What a man. In our world today, the legacy left by a strong follower of God and servant to others still provides lessons derived from a burning passion for justice. Let us remember that we can choose to love ourselves, and others, unconditionally. And perhaps this is the most pertinent resolution we can make this new year, and each year after.
As always, thanks for reading!
P.S. This is not a special issue on Martin Luther King, but do keep your eyes open for a special Black History Month edition of the Chronicle coming out in February.