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It is with great honor that I share this press release from Morehouse College:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mrs. Lavonya Jones
Office: (470) 639-0319
MOREHOUSE COLLEGE WILL SERVE AS HOST CHAPTER FOR REGIONAL LEADERSHIP RETREAT EVENT FOR NATION’S LARGEST LEADERSHIP HONOR SOCIETY
ATLANTA, GA July 2018 – The Morehouse College Chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success – Sigma Alpha Pi will host the NSLS’s Regional Leadership Retreat. The two-day event (July 13th and 14th) expects to attract over 150 NSLS Chapter Leaders from around the nation. The event will kick-off with Charles Knippen, President of NSLS, serving as keynote speaker.
Attendees network in an engaging, experiential environment, participate in personal and professional development workshops, and connect to build strong chapters and communities. The 2018 event theme is “Community Engagement,” and event workshops include Diversity & Equity, Team Management, Public Speaking, Conflict Management, and many more! Attendees will also participate in a service learning project with local community garden, Truly Living Well.
“As a new chapter, we are ecstatic to be chosen to host the first Regional Leadership Retreat for this year,” says Chapter Advisor, Lavonya Jones, “and as we continue the legacy of alum Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., give our fellow Society Leaders a glimpse into what community engagement looks like for us here at Morehouse College, and within the city of Atlanta.”
The National Society of Leadership and Success – Sigma Alpha Pi was founded in 2001 to build a community of like-minded, success-oriented leaders who come together to help one another succeed. Today, the Morehouse College Chapter is one of more than 500 college and university campuses nationwide, and serves more than 800,000 members. The Society provides benefits to help members on their own personal success journey. The Society also serves as a powerful force of good in the greater community by encouraging and organizing action to better the world.
Today we celebrate and honor the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Rather than speak my own words I’ve decided to share his late great wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King’s words about what this holiday should mean for all of us.
The Meaning of The King Holiday
BY CORETTA SCOTT KING
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America. We commemorate as well the timeless values he taught us through his example — the values of courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, humility and service that so radiantly defined Dr. King’s character and empowered his leadership. On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.
We commemorate Dr. King’s inspiring words, because his voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. Yet, Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to talk the talk, that he had to walk the walk for his words to be credible. And so we commemorate on this holiday the man of action, who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day, the man who braved threats and jail and beatings and who ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans.
The King Holiday honors the life and contributions of America’s greatest champion of racial justice and equality, the leader who not only dreamed of a color-blind society, but who also lead a movement that achieved historic reforms to help make it a reality.
On this day we commemorate Dr. King’s great dream of a vibrant, multiracial nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation; a nation that has a place at the table for children of every race and room at the inn for every needy child. We are called on this holiday, not merely to honor, but to celebrate the values of equality, tolerance and interracial sister and brotherhood he so compellingly expressed in his great dream for America.
It is a day of interracial and intercultural cooperation and sharing. No other day of the year brings so many peoples from different cultural backgrounds together in such a vibrant spirit of brother and sisterhood. Whether you are African-American, Hispanic or Native American, whether you are Caucasian or Asian-American, you are part of the great dream Martin Luther King, Jr. had for America. This is not a black holiday; it is a peoples’ holiday. And it is the young people of all races and religions who hold the keys to the fulfillment of his dream.
We commemorate on this holiday the ecumenical leader and visionary who embraced the unity of all faiths in love and truth. And though we take patriotic pride that Dr. King was an American, on this holiday we must also commemorate the global leader who inspired nonviolent liberation movements around the world. Indeed, on this day, programs commemorating my husband’s birthday are being observed in more than 100 nations.
The King Holiday celebrates Dr. King’s global vision of the world house, a world whose people and nations had triumphed over poverty, racism, war and violence. The holiday celebrates his vision of ecumenical solidarity, his insistence that all faiths had something meaningful to contribute to building the beloved community.
The Holiday commemorates America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence — the man who taught by his example that nonviolent action is the most powerful, revolutionary force for social change available to oppressed people in their struggles for liberation.
This holiday honors the courage of a man who endured harassment, threats and beatings, and even bombings. We commemorate the man who went to jail 29 times to achieve freedom for others, and who knew he would pay the ultimate price for his leadership, but kept on marching and protesting and organizing anyway.
Every King Holiday has been a national “teach-in” on the values of nonviolence, including unconditional love, tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation, which are so desperately-needed to unify America. It is a day of intensive education and training in Martin’s philosophy and methods of nonviolent social change and conflict-reconciliation. The Holiday provides a unique opportunity to teach young people to fight evil, not people, to get in the habit of asking themselves, “what is the most loving way I can resolve this conflict?”
On the King Holiday, young people learn about the power of unconditional love even for one’s adversaries as a way to fight injustice and defuse violent disputes. It is a time to show them the power of forgiveness in the healing process at the interpersonal as well as international levels.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not only for celebration and remembrance, education and tribute, but above all a day of service. All across America on the Holiday, his followers perform service in hospitals and shelters and prisons and wherever people need some help. It is a day of volunteering to feed the hungry, rehabilitate housing, tutoring those who can’t read, mentoring at-risk youngsters, consoling the broken-hearted and a thousand other projects for building the beloved community of his dream.
Dr. King once said that we all have to decide whether we “will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. Life’s most persistent and nagging question, he said, is `what are you doing for others?’” he would quote Mark 9:35, the scripture in which Jesus of Nazareth tells James and John “…whosoever will be great among you shall be your servant; and whosoever among you will be the first shall be the servant of all.” And when Martin talked about the end of his mortal life in one of his last sermons, on February 4, 1968 in the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church, even then he lifted up the value of service as the hallmark of a full life. “I’d like somebody to mention on that day Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others,” he said. “I want you to say on that day, that I did try in my life…to love and serve humanity.
We call you to commemorate this Holiday by making your personal commitment to serve humanity with the vibrant spirit of unconditional love that was his greatest strength, and which empowered all of the great victories of his leadership. And with our hearts open to this spirit of unconditional love, we can indeed achieve the Beloved Community of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.
May we who follow Martin now pledge to serve humanity, promote his teachings and carry forward his legacy into the 21st Century.
© 2018, The King Center
Retrieved from: http://www.thekingcenter.org/meaning-king-holiday
Due to the threat of hurricane Irene fast-approaching the memorial dedication in honor of the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr has been postponed until maybe September or October according to the Los Angeles Times.
Read more here: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication postponed – latimes.com.
By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
This article is so delayed it’s not even funny. My first draft was ready on May 3rd but I had technical difficulties with posting. But today is still an awesome day to share an amazing story no matter how many weeks ago it took place.
A few weekends ago I had the honor and privilege to spend time with and share a moment in history with Ambassador Andrew Young and his family and friends, and Martin Luther King III and his wife Arndrea King.
It was the weekend of April 29th to May 1st and I arrived a day early (on the 28th) so I could be well-rested and prepared for the events and activities that were awaiting me.
To hear Ambassador Young speak Friday, the night before the unveiling of his portrait (at the Smithsonian) about his life, his friendship with Dr. King, how the late Jean Childs Young and Coretta Scott King knew each other long before their husbands met, and grew up in the same small town was so moving. I have heard that story before but this night had a different impact on all of us. This was a very special weekend.
To hear Ambassador Young speak of his beloved second wife Carolyn and all that she has done to help him, his family, and his mission since they married touched my heart. To hear about the struggle in the 1960s and to stop and reflect on how detailed his memory truly is had me very humble and honored for all the moments that I have shared with him and his family.
We visited the memorial site for the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and we honored the work, dedication, sacrifice, and contributions made by our beloved Ambassador Andrew Young as his oil on canvas portrait was revealed at the Smithsonian on Saturday.
Words cannot describe how I felt to see Dr. King’s memorial in all of its glory. We were only allowed to take pictures of the park and periphery so that no one revealed the wondrous creation to the world before the official reveal date. That set in deep in my heart to know that I was about to witness something for the first time, and that I would witness it with members of both the King and Young family.
To later see Ambassador Young’s portrait unveiled and to be in the presence of other Civil Rights leaders, influencers, and their children was awesome. Tears filled many eyes including mine as they reflected on the past and the journey to today (and their hope for the future). To see Mayor Kasim Reed’s eyes as he looked to the man he calls a mentor and one of the reasons he ran for office in Atlanta, made me proud and reinforced my belief in mentoring and volunteering in the community.
To spend time with friends Martin and Arndrea King is always a pleasure, but spending three days in DC with them for this momentous occasion took on a different feel altogether.
How does it feel to see a beautiful and powerful memorial erected in your father’s honor and memory? If it were me, it would require a second visit within weeks of the first. To know that Martin and Arndrea’s daughter, Yolanda will one day carry the torch that was lit by her great grandparents, passed down to Dr. and Mrs. King her grandparents, then to her father, aunts, and uncle makes me pause and smile brightly. This is what a legacy is all about.
I’m honored to have taken part in this weekend, in this historical moment, and with people who I consider friends, mentors, and angels!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.
By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
On April 15th I was honored to lead a Dignity Day session as a HOPE Corp Volunteer through Operation HOPE (HOPE) at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) in Atlanta.
What is amazing is how the majority of this class of ninth graders were initially completely turned off to the idea of having to listen to yet another speaker that day as they were just returning to their classroom from an assembly that focused on the theme of 100 days of Non-Violence…so they were shifty and closed off. But about 15 minutes into our conversation some of the girls who had crossed arms were soon raising their hands and answering questions.
I started off by talking about the concept of legacy and that that day we were laying the foundation and road map for them to create and eventually leave behind a strong, dignified legacy. I had them define the term legacy in their own words and then share some of their dreams, goals and aspirations. Then as our conversation deepened I shared with them the history of how HOPE was founded, the services and programs that HOPE offers, and I started to weave a story where life included them and their legacy.
I think helping them share the names of empowered and dignified women they see in their family, community, and elsewhere who had similar or worse lives growing up helped them to see that they too could be those same type of women- that they are these women but in-training and with the potential to do more and help more in the long run because they are being equipped with the tools at a young age; and our adversity isn’t an excuse to let life pass us by or a crutch to coast through life doing and expecting the bare minimum, but a reason and motivation to excel and succeed.
These young ladies were shocked to hear that the civil rights movement as it pertained to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and Ambassador Andrew Young was sparked, motivated, and pushed along due to their wives Coretta Scott King and Jean Childs Young- two women who endured and overcame adversity and strife. Hearing this information made many of these girls sit up straight in their chairs and listen intently.
When I spoke about not holding grudges, and that forgiving people is not to benefit the person they were forgiving but to help themselves heal, grow, and overcome- some girls shifted in their seats their seats, a few others rolled their eyes in disbelief; but then when I mentioned Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Iyanla Vandzant and their ability to forgive their abusers and using strife as a launching pad towards success- some of the girls started naming other people like Fantasia and Tyler Perry who was sexually and physically abused and how he also overcame and pushed himself to success.
We discussed the concept of family and that it isn’t just our immediate family we need to be concerned about but our neighborhoods, cities, state, our country, and our global family. Because I know that girls can be equally as cutthroat as boys, I made sure that we had a heart-to-heart chat about trash-talking and “clowning” people and how although initially it can be lighthearted and funny, it can also be crippling and tear apart our “extended” family.
We discussed being relevant not only in this country but globally, and that true wealth (spiritual, financial, etc) can only be maintained long term by leading a dignified life, not by living up to the negative stereotypes that are projected globally about Black females. We discussed self-empowerment and not waiting on the government or specific programs to help us, that we have to help ourselves. That we shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to pick up trash on our sidewalks- we should pick it up ourselves.
We shouldn’t be waiting for someone else to cover the graffiti on our walls and buildings- we should paint over it ourselves; we shouldn’t wait for someone else to beautify our streets and parks with trees and flowers- we should plant them ourselves. I explained that they should be volunteering in their community through church or some other organization taking pride in restoring, building, maintaining, and beautifying their neighborhoods.
We had a pretty good time. We laughed and talked about boys and expectations of being respected by males and all people when you carry yourself with respect and dignity. We discussed the language of money and being financially literate, and how this literacy will empower them. It was refreshing to see that many of them have savings accounts and that two of the students had traveled abroad- one to London and the other to the Bahamas. Two young passport carriers living in an underserved and underrepresented area of Atlanta- doesn’t that give you hope? It gives me hope and encourages me to continue my work in the community, and my work through Operation HOPE.
I hope more men and women find it in their hearts to invest one hour of their time at least once per month to volunteer in a church, in a class room, or in a youth center through Operation HOPE. One person can make a difference!
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.