Monday, January 15, 2007

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday - Message for Community and Commerce

NewsMax reporting on the first public address from the eldest daughter since her mother's death: "We must keep reaching across the table and, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, feed each other," Yolanda King said Sunday at Ebenezer Baptist Church during a presentation that was part motivational speech, part drama." The performance included scenes sharing experiences from the oral histories of America including "a girl's first ride on a desegregated bus" and an experience during the 1963 desegregation of Birmingham, Ala.

Her speech both touched on the need for healing and the call to remember there is still work to be done. This work begins with acknowledging the value of the individual, the need for love inspired dialogues, and continued seeking of peaceful resolutions to unite individuals and communities.

Even as recently as November of 2006 disturbing historial events were brought to light which cast shadows on the past and illuminated the present because as the editor of the Charlotte Observer discusses in his comments which refer to an event that happened in Wilmington North Carolina, there is a direct relationship to the present. In reference to this the editor replied, "We apologize to the black citizens and their descendants whose rights and interests we disregarded," the editorial noted," and to all North Carolinians, whose trust we betrayed by our failure to fairly report the news and stand firm against injustice." In an E&P interview Ed Williams, editorial page editor of the Charlotte paper, said he ordinarily is against "people who didn't commit a wrong apologizing to those who were wronged and are long dead." But he said this case was special given that the racist actions impact today's residents. "I thought we just needed to get on the right side of history on that".

Since the holiday was established by the 1994 Congress there has been considerable discussion about what it means to communities throughout the nation. We don't have to look far to know we've not yet reached the promise land that Dr. King envisioned, however we must not take for granted the progress that has been accomplished NOR that which lies ahead awaiting our attention and peaceful action. What action can you take today that promotes the ideals that this holiday is intended to celebrate?

There is much to be done and the recent buzz about GSR (global social responsibility) and CSR (corporate social responsibility) may give reasons for optimism. However, I feel there are some core issues that have to be interjected into such a dialogue, namely Attention, Love and Social capital in economic development/commerce/community building. Instead of repeating them here I will post this link to the article....

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."-- Albert Einstein

It is this understanding that stands at the heart of the concepts being developed in my current work. The abstract concepts that are revealed in the Cultural Fusion series have very practical applications for businesses and communities.


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