WE always LIVE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES - - NOT KNOWING WHAT WILL HAPPEN
FROM one DAY TO the next. OUR daily CHALLENGE IS TO TRANSCEND THIS
UNCERTAINTY. today, I WANT TO TALK
ABOUT HOW WE DO THAT.
I am sure that we are all eagerly anticipating SPRING. TYPICALLY, SPRING IS A TIME OF HOPE and a
TIME WHEN PEOPLE LOOK TO new beginnings.
SPRING IS ALSO A TIME WHEN PEOPLE INDULGE - they get pure joy out of
RAYS OF SUNSHINE, THE GREENING OF THE GRASS, THE blossoming of TREES AND
FLOWERS with their perfumed frangrances.
in spring, people actually STOP long enough TO SMELL THE
roses. AFTER ALL, PEOPLE come HERE from
around the world to enjoy the granduer of the Cherry blossoms.
THIS SPRING IS not as spring like at eeoc. THE OVERALL MOOD IS DOUR.
IT IS AS THOUGH THE CURTAINS ARE DRAWN AND THE LANDSCAPE IS DARK. THE DARKNESS STEMS FROM THE UNCERTAINTY
ABOUT the changes coming to the eeoc.
there are underlying questions - what going to HAPPEN and when? SO, IS THERE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE? CAN WE CHANGE THE DARK LANDSCAPE AND LIFT
THE CURTAINS? CAN WE FIND LIGHT? I assure you, IF WE LOOK AT and use
the DARKNESS, WE WILL FIND THE LIGHT.
THINK ABOUT A TIME WHEN IT WAS DARK AND YOU COULD NOT GET TO A
FLASHLIGHT, TURN ON A LIGHT, OR EVEN LIGHT A CANDLE. EVENTUALLY, YOUR EYES ADJUSTED TO THE DARKNESS AND YOU COULD
SEE. NOT BECAUSE THERE WAS LIGHT, BUT
BECAUSE YOU MADE THE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENT.
THEN, EVEN IN THE DARKness, YOU COULD SEE THINGS - FIGURES, SHAPES
AND EVEN THE WAY TO THE DOOR. ADJUSTING
TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES ALLOWED YOU TO GET THE PERSPECTIVE YOU NEEDED TO MANAGE IN
THE DARK. IN THE END, YOU CAME OUT IN
now, MANY OF US, -i believe most of us, - WORK AT EEOC BECAUSE OF ITS
NOBLE MISsiON. WE WANT TO be a force IN
ERADICATING DISCRIMINATION. we have THE
ABILITY TO BOLSTER, PROVIDE AND SOMETIMES even RESTORE DIGNITY TO THOSE WE
HELP. OVER THE YEARS, many of us have
ENDURED a number of EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE methods that we use to ADDRESS
DISCRIMINATION. IN MANY WAYS, IT IS
BECAUSE OF THE DIGNITY ASPECT THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ENDURE THESE
"DARK" PERIODS. it is because
WE WANT TO SHINE A spot LIGHT ON INJUSTICE.
while FIGHTING THESE BATTLES FOR OTHERS, WE ALSO NEED TO STAND
AGAINST INTERNAL INJUSTICES AND INDIGNITIES.
TAKING A STAND WILL SHINE A LIGHT FOR US AS WELL AS for OTHERs and will
allow us to survive THE DARKENED LANDSCAPE.
HISTORY PROVIDES SOME GREAT INSIGHT INTO HOW darkness can be used as
a tool to triumph. THESE PEOPLE DID NOT
SEEK FAME OR GLORY. MOST were just
seeking a BETTER WAY OF LIFE. but those
that we truly remember, WERE NOT just CONTENT WHEN THEIR PERSONAL SITUATION
IMPROVED AND THEIR individual DARKNESS BECAME LIGHT. those we MOST remember, struggled AGAINST UNFAIR SYSTEMS THAT
ROBBED NOT ONLY THEMSELVES, BUT OTHER PEOPLE OF LIGHT. THAT IS WHAT DISCRIMINATION AND RACISM DO,
ROB PEOPLE OF BOTH THEIR DIGNITY AND HUMANITY.
WE JUST CELEBRATED BLACK HISTORY MONTH. if WE LOOK AT CHAMPIONS OF CIVIL RIGHTS, AND RECALL THEIR DARKEST HOURS, THERE ARE
LESSONS WE CAN learn about using the darkness as a STRENGTH.
WE ALL KNOW ABOUT DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. IN THE FACE OF BLATANT RACISM, JAILINGS,
TAUNTING AND CRIMINAL ACTS DIRECTED AT HIM AND HIS FAMILY, HE WAS ABLE TO unite
people with a common purpose. USING HIS
WORDS AS A SWORD, DR. KING WAS ABLE TO SWAY THE DIRECTION OF THIS NATION. he brought light to the DARKNESS OF hatred
archbishop DESMUND TUTU ALSO SPOKE OUT AGAINST RACISM. as a result of HIS EFFORTS TO GRANT DIGNITY
TO OPPRESSED PEOPLE, THERE WAS A CONCERTED EFFORT TO CLOAK HIM IN
DARKNESS. his PASSPORT WAS confiscated.
AND UNDER THE LAWS AT THE TIME, IT WAS even ILLEGAL TO PRINT HIS SPEECHES OR
EXCERPTS FROM THEM. archbisop TUTU
continues to work WITH THE POOR and to fight racism, MAINTAINING THAT NO MAN
SHOULD BE COMFORTABLE with the worlds's injustices JUST BECAUSE HIS ECONOMIC
PROSPERITY OR INDIVDIUAL CONDITIONs have IMPROVEd.
NELSON MANDELA WAS IMPRISIONED FOR ALMOST FORTY YEARS. EIGHTEEN OF THOSE YEARS WERE ON AN ISLAND
that was formerly a lepers' colony.
NOW, DESPITE THE NUMEROUS REASONS GIVEN FOR THE NEED TO IMPRISON
MANDELA, IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THIS - his imprisonment was designed to rob him
of his dignity and humanity. despite
the inhumanities and THE indignities mr. mandela endured, HE contined his fight
for THE DIGNITY OF ALL PEOPLE. before
there was an eeoc, mr. MANDELA BELIEVED IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DISCRIMINATION,
FOR DISCRIMINATION IS JUST ANOTHER WAY OF EXPLOITING WORKERS. DESPITE ADVERSITY, mr. MANDELA FACED HIS
PERSECUTORS BY MAINTAINing HIS LIGHT, HIS DIGNITY AND NOT SINKING TO THE LEVELS
OF INDIGNITY HEAPED UPON HIM. mr.
MANDELA MAINTAINED HIS BELIEF THAT FAITH, HOPE AND CHARITY ARE HUMAN
QUALITIES. THESE ARE the QUALITIES OF LIGHT THAT HE CONTINUES TO PRACTICE
- - BESTOWING them on the multitudes that he touches.
this month is national women’s history month and there are even more
lessons to be learned. raised in
segregated bennetville, South CAronlina, marian wright-edelman was expected by
her father to get an education and serve others. as the first black female admitted to the bar of mississippi, she
worked for the poor. she lit the way for millions of poor children when, in
1973, she established what is now know as the children’s defense fund. because of the children’s defense fund, the
way has been lit for poor children to realize educational opportunities,
equality, justice and dignity.
hariett tubman used darkness as a STRENGTH to free slaves. having been hit in the head with a heavy
object thrown at someone else, she suffered from blackouts. despite the blackouts, her runaway slave
status, and a $40, 000 bounty on her head, she persevered. on nineteen occasions, using the darkness of
night, of barns, cellars and false rooms, harriet tubman, returned to the south
and led 300 other slaves and family members out of slavery, to freedom in the
THESE LESSONS LIVE ON and THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER. WE must continue our WORK AT EEOC TO
HELP ENSURE THAT THE LIGHT WILL SHINE AND THAT THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE AND
HUMANITY CONTINUES. WE WILL NOT - - we
can not - - LET CHANGES AT EEOC - - SUCH AS, denying information or MAKING A
EEOC A BUSINESS VENTURE OF PROCESSING WIDGETS RATHER THAN ENFORCING THE LAWS
AGAINST DISCRIMINATION, PLUNGE US INTO DARKNESS. WE WILL -and - WE MUST - - TAKE THIS TIME OF DARKNESS AND MAKE IT
OUR STRENGTH AND OUR SPOT LIGHT to IMPROVe CONDITIONS FOR those who rely on our
OUR challenge IS TO CONTINUE TO LIGHT THE WAY BY focusing on OUR
MISSION'S WORK AND IMPROVING CONDITIONS FOR all working people, including
ourselves. WE must CONTINUE TO ASK THE
DIFFICULT QUESTIONS and use all AVENUES TO GET ANSWERS TO THOSE QUESTIONS.
eric hoffer, a social scientist observed that the basic test of
freedom is perahps less in WHAT WE ARE FREE TO DO THAN IN WHAT WE ARE FREE NOT
TO DO. what we are not free to
do, is TO plunge others into darkness and strip them of their dignity.
PERHAPS IT IS BECAUSE SPRING IS COMING. PERHAPS IT IS THE PARTICULAR WHIMSY OF TODAY. PERHAPS IT IS THE POWERFUL LESSONS LEARNED. - but i believe, THE DIGNITY WE GIVE ONE ANOTHER GIVES US POWER, gives us strength, and enables us the light the way,despite THE DArkness.
Back / Home