Martin Luther King ~

This is a holiday in the US to remember a great man and his great words:

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Strength to Love, 1963

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever 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.

With those powerful words ringing – one would think that everyone would work together for the common good. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Here is Houston there has been a parade honoring the late Dr. King. for a number of years. Over the last several years it has been marked by hostility, anger and law suits by two competing organizations for the honor of having “THE” parade. These were organizations that worked together until an unfortunate split. There has been so much trouble over that last several years that this year the city council trying to play Solomon put together an ordinance limiting the city to one parade per day. This made sense considering all the city ends up paying to protect parades, re-locate traffic (this is downtown Houston remember) and police along the route. Rather than getting the organizers to work together (no surprise here), it caused the ACLU to get involved and the law suits began. To which I add, all this shows how far we still have to go to reach Martin Luther Kings dream.

From the Houston Chronicle is an article by Geroyal Jackson, a junior at Jack Yates High School, with his reaction to the entire parade situation.

Forty-four years ago, the great Martin Luther King Jr. sparked a huge change in the world when he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Today, it has been nearly 40 years since his 1968 assassination, and although the world is starkly different than it was in 1963, our world still has leaps and bounds to go before we can earnestly even attempt to say that we’ve achieved his “dream.”

Case in point: Two Houston organizations that are both supposed to be devoted to King’s message and legacy have made news and smeared the civil rights leader’s image — and all in his name.

The controversy stems from Houston’s MLK Parade, which for years was a single parade conducted by the Black Heritage Society, chaired by Ovide Dun- cantell and Charles Stamps. That is, until Stamps split from Duncantell in the mid-’90s to form the MLK Parade Foundation and through it, the MLK Grande Parade, bringing two MLK parades to the downtown area on the same day.

Ever since then, the parades and their backers have been feuding, resulting in the creation of a parade law that prevents two downtown parades on the same day. City lawyers say the ordinance allows police and traffic officials to protect mobility and public safety, and that allowing two parades downtown on the same day would strain resources — especially with an increasing residential population downtown.

So, with only one parade allowed, both organizations were forced to vie for a permit for the Big Day. When Duncantell and the Black Heritage Society were denied the permit in favor of his old foe, Stamps and the MLK Parade Foundation, Duncantell took the dispute to court and filed a civil rights lawsuit against Mayor Bill White and city Public Works Director Michael Marcotte, calling the parade law “unconstitutional.”

For now, the dispute has been temporarily settled by U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal, who allowed both parades to take place downtown, but the Black Heritage Society’s will take place in the afternoon while the MLK Parade Foundation’s takes place in the morning.

The whole matter has been disgusting to view. Here we have two people and their organizations fighting over the right to have an event to honor a man who was all about peace. Honestly, is the feud about honoring King’s legacy or besting an old rival?

These two men and their organizations are behaving like children and disgracing everything King stood for.

What would King say? Would he be proud of this trifling feud that’s taking place in his name? Would he choose a side? Would he applaud them for embarrassing themselves, his legacy and our people for their own egos?

No, he would not, because King was about unity and brotherhood, especially among our own people. So, while these two are tying up the legal system and making fools of themselves, they should know that they aren’t honoring the great man. They’re desecrating his memory.

So, instead of attending any MLK parade this year, I will be doing (and encouraging everyone to, as well) something that I believe honors King more: joining in the silent march down MLK Boulevard on Saturday, because as this whole feud has clearly demonstrated, sometimes the best course of action is silent.


Late Night Thoughts ~ It’s MORE than just a new year

As the clock hands move toward the midnight hour when one day ends and another a officially begins … This one is special as it marks the end of one year and the beginning of another. What a delight! A chance to look at the new day with a new resolve and new ideas. One of the blogs I follow says in his profile — I’m bursting with ideas. That’s what I want to do tomorrow – I want to wake up simply bursting with ideas. Ideas that will goad my day into being even better than I imagined!!

I shared this wonderful poem with a number of people this year about the new year:

How beautiful the turning of the year!
A moment artificial yet profound:
Point upon an arbitrary chart
Passing like a breath upon the heart,
Yearning with anticipation wound,
New hope new harbored in old-fashioned cheer.
Even when the boundary line is clear,
We recognize the oneness of the ground.
Years, like circles, do not end or start
Except we lay across their truth our art,
Adjusting dates as they go round and round
Revolving to a tune long sung and dear.

As the time moves forward to what we call the “new beginning” I realized that we are actually always IN a new beginning. We have the choice to live with what was, tolerate what is or move into the exciting, terrifying world of what may be. As for me, that is where I want to “hang my hat” and dig in to live.

It’s always been easy for me to simply get comfortable with the now, and accept what is as the way it is. I’m regaining something else I had lost over the last few months – the realization that I don’t have to tolerate what is, that I don’t have to accept less than my best – or anyone else’s for that matter. (watch out friends!)

While I’m looking forward, I will need to acknowledge and celebrate the past. However, as the old country saying goes: “You can’t plow straight furrows by looking back as you’re going forward.” And trust me, I want straight furrows in the field of my life!

And now, it’s almost the time … Morning is almost officially here1

New Year’s Morning

Only a night from old to new!
Only a night, and so much wrought!
The Old Year’s heart all weary grew,
But said: “The New Year rest has brought
The Old Year’s hopes its heart laid down,
As in a grave; but trusting, said:”
The blossoms of the New Year’s crown
Bloom from the ashes of the dead.”
The Old Year’s heart was full of greed;
With selfishness it longed and ached,
And cried: “I have not half I need.
My thirst is bitter and unslaked.
But to the New Year’s generous hand
All gifts in plenty shall return;
True love it shall understand;
By all y failures it shall learn.
I have been reckless; it shall be
Quiet and calm and pure of life.
I was a slave; it shall go free,
And find sweet pace where I leave strife.”
Only a night from old to new!
Never a night such changes brought.
The Old Year had its work to do;
No New Year miracles are wrought.

Always a night from old to new!
Night and the healing balm of sleep!

Each morn is New Year’s morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.

Helen Hunt Jackson

Evening thoughts~

Today, six hours was spent in an ER center with a dear friend that was in need. When they called him “back” to the hidden area, I was left for most of the time by myself. It gave me a chance to watch people and see what was going on with them. The hospital allowed two times to “visit” my friend in the back area. Which in itself added some surprises. Of course, discovering they had “misplaced” my friend only added to the day.

ER poem 1

I saw the fear
in his eyes.
The not knowing,
not comprehending,
naked fear.

It was all so strange
doing strange
frightening things.

He bit his lower
lip and tried not to

But a small tear
dripped down his
He brushed it away
with a grimy

The man didn’t understand
where he was –
who these people were –
what needed to be done.

The daughter was firm
and somewhat
out of patience.
Her firmness became

It evidently was
as a drill to his
Which melted
much as the boy’s
tear had
But there was
no hand
to brush
it away.

ER poem 2
The trauma team
all wear
black shirts.
Around them
an occasional
flash of
white whirling

I don’t think
I would
want to wake
up surrounded
by black shirts.
There are times
my life is
black enough
as it is.

Early morning thoughts

Be entirely tolerant or not at all; follow the good path or the evil one. To stand at the crossroads requires more strength than you possess.
Heinrich Heine

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.
Heinrich Heine

There are more fools in the world than there are people.
Heinrich Heine

Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.
Heinrich Heine, From his play “Almansor” (1821)

a day remembered ..

Today is a day that was remarked upon as “a day that shall live in infamy.” On this day veterans remember their lost comrades, and try to pass on to a younger generation what happened and why. It is important that we hear what is being said. Remember that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. And we need no more repeats.
The was the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Perhaps December 7th should be more about the many young men who lost their lives so horribly. So many young men died deaths that were hell incarnate.

General Robert E. Lee said it is good war is so horrible, lest we grow too fond of it.

To the those who survived Pearl Harbor, we know and hear your pain. The pain of losing your comrades. The pain of having lost your innocence.

Let us then mark December 7th as a day when we should be seeking new avenues of resolving differences. Look at the pain and say only: There has to be a better way to resolve our problems. If we don’t, then we know what lies ahead for our children and our future generations.

Here is a link that will allow you to send a personalized postcard to the troops overseas. This is sponsored by XEROX and over 5 million cards of these cards have been delivered.