Special Post & Featured Optimist: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, we remember one of the ultimate Optimists who paved the way for us all with his sacrifice, leadership, words and visions…and that is the least of what he did. Today, we remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his day…

Address to civil rights marchers by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends — so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American 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 men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi — from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring — when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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Featured Optimist: Mastin Kipp inspires through The Daily Love

Chances are you may have heard of Mastin Kipp’s The Daily Love. You may even be following him on twitter. If you aren’t, you’re missing out! It was at the beginning of this year that I found out about Mastin and The Daily Love and I immediately signed up to get his daily email newsletters. I also started to follow him on twitter. I was drawn into the idea that he creates an inspiring theme, every day, that he shares with others. His goal? To encourage others to manifest their highest potential.

thedailylove.com

Complete with thoughtful themes, inspiring words, conscious quotes, images and guest bloggers, one of my main attractions to The Daily Love, was that it welcomes readers with the aim to make them happy, so that you share this happiness with others. I’m on the same page and share the same goal.

The same way I enjoy posting quotes on my Facebook page and sharing ideas, articles, and words with others, I enjoy sharing people with others! So, take a look at his website and I am sure you will come upon something that speaks to you and inspires your heart…daily.

- Kendra Kabasele

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Featured Optimist: Garz Chan gives back through her handbag creations

I had the pleasure of meeting Garz Chan about a week ago and aside from having great conversations about life and creativity, it was the way she carried herself that intrigued me. She’s ambitious, kind and has a certain edge to her that complements her warm nature. As friends and I chatted with her, there was something else about her we all noticed, almost at the same moment – her handbag! It was a cute bag, a denim bag that was just the right size to hold without causing a dent in your shoulder (we ladies know we pack as much as possible into our bags!)! I chimed in with all of the compliments, but then also asked if she made them for others. Much to my delight, she said yes, and I was an instant customer! A few examples of her bags are below.

When we met up again and I told her about this blog, she mentioned that part of the proceeds for her handbags went to two charities! 25% of the cost goes to nokidhungry.org to end child hunger across America.

25% of the cost goes to shineonsierraleone.org to help build schools and hospitals in Sierra Leone/North West Africa.

And so, this Featured Optimist is one to watch as she continues to not only give back through her handbag creations, but as a human being. Imagine, she also offers a service for busy mothers where she cooks them a nice meal when they otherwise may not have time to. Cheers to you, Garz!

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Featured Optimist: Leila Chirayath Janah for Samasource

When I first read about Leila Chirayath Janah and Samasource in Forbes Magazine, I was intrigued. Imagine creating jobs in countries riddled with poverty, and replacing conventional aid with opportunity, skill sets and a virtual foundation. Imagine doing this in order to build the beginnings of a solid infrastructure, and, in turn, a self sustainable community and most importantly, a future for otherwise impoverished countries. Leila Janah imagined this and created this non-profit.

Samasource’s mission is to “bring dignified, computer-based work to women, youth, and refugees living in poverty… [and] connect people living in poverty to work via the Internet.” (Source)

While the dialogue concerning the idea and practicality of outsourcing jobs to other countries has essentially included much frustration from US-based clients, it also has perpetuated some ignorance on our part. With a little patience and information, it seems these efforts can also yield more benefits and results, than the aid and handouts we tend to invest more energy in.

There are several videos on the Samasource website which offer more insight and background to the project and the thought process behind the birth of the organization and projects.

Here is one of them:

(Source: Samasource YouTube Channel)

For more information on the organization and/or how you can get involved, please refer to their website:

http://samasource.org/

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