Fiftieth Anniversary of the March on Washington, DC

The visions of new consciousness are created out of nothing.  They come out of empty space; emptiness, however, does not equate to nothingness, because what fills empty space is enlivened energy with all of its components.  The thoughts of human beings are the seeds of objects and movements in space and time.  The energized thoughts of humanity bring to birth the material stuff around us.

At this time of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the March on Washington, DC it is just the right time to think of the visions, aspirations, and inspirations born out of suffering of oppression and racism by men like Martin Luther King, Jr., Medger Evans, Bobby Kennedy and William Moo

re who was murdered alongside the road in Alabama.  William Moore was a white postal worker who decided to carry a letter, by foot, to the President.  His letter advocated for the Civil Rights for African Americans, as well as all human beings, no matter what or who they were.  As he carried the letter and a sign for all to see, he did so from a visionary thought that he made reality.

The problem was that some people in Alabama wanted to silence his message, and silence him forever.  They killed him and left him beside the road in Alabama.

I use these illustrations to reinforce the universality of what they were willing to die for.   None of them was just advocating for one group over another, although in our empirical society the main conflict was black and white, and the white, supremacist system that perpetuated the inferiority of African Americans and the superiority of European Americans.

Civil Rights have similarities to Human Rights as well as differences.  Civil Rights are advocated for, and in many cases fought for, whether in armed struggle or non-violent civil disobedience.  They involve the laws that govern the nation and the states, and are created to protect all of its citizens from discrimination and bias.  This is also why the legal right and freedom to vote was also a part of the Civil Rights struggle.  In a single vote, there exists the power of self-determination to not allow governance by various power groups who seek any kind of tyranny of dominance over others.

Human Rights are universals that all people are born with.  They transcend all other human laws.  For me, they all seem connected to the Golden Rule.  If I want to be treated by others in a certain way, I must realize my mutual interdependency with all others.  I behave towards them as I want them to behave towards me-with fairness, integrity, justice, compassion, equality and love.

Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, was a man who cared about the north and the south.  His vision and view was visionary, universal and non-parochial.  I know this because I lived in Chicago, Illinois when he came there to lead a protest against landlords (known colloquially as slum lords) who were exploiting the poor tenants of apartment dwellings, charging exorbitant rents, and providing little to no maintenance,  and who were mainly African Americans and other persons of color.  King led the march through Lincoln Park while white bystanders taunted the protesters with racial epithets, and beat up some of them up.  In one documentary that I saw, the faces of the whites reminded me of some of the faces of southerners who attended lynchings.  The incarnation of the face of hate.

All of these sheroes and heroes were ordinary people like all the rest of us.  What made them different was that they transformed their thoughts into concrete, empirical and material reality.  Were they perfect?  Of course not. But nothing says you have to be perfect to do good work.  Did they have shortcomings?  Absolutely.  Yes they did, as we all do.  Were they saints who performed miracles.  No, not really.

There’s a Zen story that I’ll leave with you at the end of this blog.  Three Zen monks came to a small village.  They were hungry and thirsty when they got there.  An old woman saw them walking in the street, and invited them into her house to serve them tea.  They were very grateful.  As she prepared the tea and a few pieces of bread, she asked each one of them to tell her of the miracles they had each seen.  One by one, they were speechless and stammered that they had never seen any miracles.  “Well, then, I will show you one.  A bonafied miracle.  Look carefully and you will see.”  Then she very simply poured the tea. 

© Christopher Bear-Beam August 27, 2013




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