Archive for October, 2009

I’m not fearing any man, a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. call to action

Friday, October 16th, 2009

I remember the moment when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died.  I was just a child.  Everyone was weeping at my house as if my grandfather passed away.  It was a concept that I could not comprehend.  How could a man materialize into the hearts of so many through powerful words?

Every since that day, I wonder what the world would be like if Dr. King had lived.  Would 1 in 100 men and women in this country be incarcerated?  Would a child in Georgia be considered an adult at the age of 17?  Would 8.3% of people 12 years of age and over have used illicit drugs?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech closed by saying, “I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”  He knew that fear is the greatest obstacle.  However, he offered encouragement for individuals like me.  He knew that in the end, justice will prevail.

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. closed by saying, “I’m not fearing any man,” that is the real call to action.  First, we must address fear.  When we tell people to stop advocating publicly for the poor because it cuts like a knife, that message invokes fear.  When we ridicule women as having low self-esteem for attempting to change the national statistic for their personal 1 in X network of incarcerated in the United States, that message invokes fear.  When we see the faults of other communities, but don’t look at the under-age drinking and drug use in our own communities, that message invokes fear.  When we lead our children to believe that there will be no born again criminals in heaven, that message invokes fear.  When we tell the public to drop the artistic pen and only use digital art, that message invokes fear.  When we tell people to keep their messages short and succinct, that message invokes fear because life changing speeches such as the mountaintop speech that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered are not written in 140 characters.

Change does not come with fear but is overcome of fear.  During my 4 year quest to analyze why the United States of America has the most people incarcerated in the world, then and only then did I come to understand what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meant when he said, “to fear no man.”  His impactful words have finally materialized in my heart.  With 304,059,724 people in the United States, I, with those globally who care about their personal network of 100 in the United States, accept Dr. Martin Luther King’s call to action.

Highlighting the good in humanity,

Ann DeWitt