We hurled it at each other across playground implements. It was a magic defense, impenetrable by the cruelty of our classmates.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
But words can also build. They can give us wings to fly.
These past two weeks have been some of the best days of my life, in no small degree due to the kind and encouraging words of others. I have experienced generosity that I have never know, so many gifts for my trip to India, but it has been the letters, the tender words that have accompanied the material donations that have, in a very deep way, given me so much of what I need for my journey. And it was one letter in particular from my dear friends Jerrod and Suzanne Jones, who sent me a quote, (the one from the end of MLK's speech below) that was like gasoline on the fire of my passion.
I have often lamented that I was not alive for the civil rights struggle of the 60's. I have fantasized about being arm-locked with MLK, marching on Washington, picketing outside Rosa Park's jail cell.....but I was born too late. The reality is though, that today the struggle for human rights is greater than at any other time in history. There are more people enslaved in the world today than at any other time, 27 million! And there is no country where there is more exploitation than India! So it is that I am going to live that struggle. I am going to stand arm and arm with other abolitionists, with you, with Narges, as with relentless resolve we say "Not on our watch, not in our lifetimes. Not our children, not anyone's children. Not now. Not ever."
The following is from National Public Radio excerpting that speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered at St. Luke's Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in May of 1963 entitled "Keep on Moving":
"Now let me say this. The thing that we are challenged to do is to keep this movement moving. There is power in unity and there is power in numbers. As long us we keep moving like we are moving, the power structure will have to give in.
And we are probably nearer to solution of this problem than we are able to realize. And don't worry about your children they are going to be alright. Don't hold them back if they want to go to jail. But they are doing a job for not only for themselves but for all of America and for all mankind.
Somewhere we read a little child shall lead them. Remember that was another little child just twelve years old and he got involved in the discussion back in Jerusalem. As his parents moved down the dusty road leading them back to their little village of Nazareth. And when they got back and bothered him and touched him and wanted him to move on at that moment, he said, I must be about my father's business.
These young people are about their father's business. And they are carving a tunnel of hope through the great mountain of despair. They will bring to this nation, a newness and a genuine quality and an idealism that it so desperately needs.
Keep this movement going
Keep this movement rolling
In spite of the difficulties and we are going to have a few more difficulties
Keep moving if you can't fly run
If you can't run walk
If you can't walk crawl
But by all means keep moving....."