Observance Of Dr Martin Luther King’s Birthday

January 18, 2016

[Written by Glenn Fubler]

Imagine Bermuda hosted a Gathering in observance of the Birthday of Martin Luther King. We had invited a limited number of a diverse group of residents – a size that allowed for an intimate dialogue on the implications of specific aspects of King’s legacy for today’s Bermuda.

Among the 20-odd in attendance, we were graced by the presence of the President of the Senate, Mrs. Joan Dillas-Wright and 4 other public figures.

However, all of those attending had accepted the invitation on the premise that their participation in the Gathering was based on not formally representing any of the ‘hats’ that they might wear from time-to-time.

The Gathering began at Noon at the Chewstick Foundation’s new Cultural Hub on Front Street and as people assembled, they were offered a choice of three pots of home-made soup as they socialized.

After each attendee introduced themselves via the roving mic, the Gathering did a minute of silence to the memory of the many from our shared past, ‘named and un-named’, who have contributed to any and all the success each of us in the community enjoy today.

We then spent 20 minutes viewing a film of a TED Talk of Adam Kahane who is a facilitator who began his career working with the parties involved in South Africa, in the period immediately following Mandela’s release, up to the establishment of that country’s first democratically-elected Government.

Kahane’s success on that project led him on a journey involving addressing challenging circumstances in 50- odd countries. These experiences have shaped a process which has at its core a philosophical perspective around ‘Love’ and ‘Power’, which was articulated by Martin Luther King, in one of his last major speeches.

Following the film, participants were invited to offer any insight that they had gained from the Talk. Here are some of the highlights from that 30 minute period:

  • There was the question of whether Kahane’s approach was ‘too academic’, in the light of real-world circumstances. In response it was pointed out that this approach has addressed some very explosive situations such as in the conflict in Columbia which even involved parties who were imprisoned and ‘underground’.
  • One attendee pointed out that approach recognized that a society was obliged to apply both ‘Love’ and ‘Power’ when addressing the fundamental needs of a community.
  • Another suggested that it was obvious that ‘Love’ without any ‘Power’ would be in no way effective.
  • One attendee reported that he has begun using the approach in a project for which he as responsible and he found it very useful.
  • Another participant speaking to the overall occasion, pointed out that this type of Gatherings was important since they are premised on the acceptance of differing opinions, perspectives and positions.
  • An attendee made the point that offering ‘spaces’ for open dialogue, notwithstanding any and all differences amongst participants was an essential component of a sustainable society.

The feedback expressed by those in attendance reflected a consensus that staging Gatherings which bring representatives together from the diverse sectors of our society in promoting ‘unity in the community’. The session ended with the intention to follow up on specific matters raised.

The Director of Chewstick – Gavin Smith – gave an undertaking to collaborate with us in hosting a further Gathering of this type within the next month.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Bermy Realist says:

    To be able to exhibit Love and Power is truly amazing! Question is, at what cost? and who really benefits from it? History has shown it definitely has not been the victims. This has always been to benefit the oppressor, in order that they can continue their way of life without any ramifications for the injuries caused…..hmm…Think!

    Just imagine if MLK encouraged the black people to fight back and arm themselves with guns, and believed that peace would never prevail living among people that wanted them to be enslaved and also killing them every chance they got and still do. Just watch the news, as a young black man is killed by police in the USA often enough…pay attention!

    In America a census was taken the other day asking people “how much progress has been made for minorities in America since MLK’s speech” and more than 50% of people felt things have not changed and the Struggle is Real everyday.

    • Onion juice says:

      Its PATHETIC how thousands of Blacks have been systematically murdered, lynched and incarcerated,especially in America and South Africa, while MOST of the criminals walked free, benefitted and prospered in a RACIST society that endorsed it, while the descendants of the oppressed are still catching S!@#.
      F!@#ing PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Pontificating and intellectualizing the struggle.Real Power is doing something.The weakest of faith is hating something in your heart or abhorring it.The next strongest of faith is to speak against it.The strongest of faith is to do something about it or put your hand against it.This is called actualisation and may even mean giving up your life and sometimes even the lives of your loved ones for the struggle.I believe that this is the age of Actualisation.

    • Onion Juice says:

      That’s why we have very few Black Leaders to fight for the PEOPLE, because of the psychological expect that in the past Black Leaders were assassinated ,incarcerated or socially and economically deprived.