At Tenfold, we embrace one another’s differences and strive to “Operate as One Team, One Family,” (Core Value) “Bringing different cultural experiences, individuals, and backgrounds to Tenfold in order to better promote an inclusive and diverse community.” In doing so, we strive to be supportive and empathetic towards one another, ultimately treating each other as they would want to be treated.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Very much like the statement above, we challenged our teams to not be stoic and silent during this day of celebration, but to share “Why Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Special to you? Here are some of the thoughts our Tenfolders would like to share…
Josue: As a first-generation American growing up on a border town, I have witnessed first hand the incredible actions we can accomplish when we draw from the strengths of our very diverse backgrounds. MLK JR’s message of the oppressed demanding freedom while simultaneously preaching transformative love was critical for opening up doors to me that otherwise would not have been available to a person like me as a child and aligns with one of my favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela: “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” (MLK Jr) When we choose to love opportunities become available for my children.
Val: “You don’t have to see the top of the staircase to take the first step.” (MLK Jr) Martin Luther King, Jr. Bravery is my immediate and constant thought when I think of Martin Luther King, Jr. In the face of such open animosity in our current society, I cannot fathom the amount of bravery it took to take on the dangerous feat of dismantling racism and demanding equality. I feel, in my youth, I took this for granted. I am very aware that he left a legacy that asks a lot of us/me. I am aware that the baton he picked up allowed my mother to desegregate her university. It was not a time that long ago. MLK Day is simply a day of reflection. It is a day that reminds me to ask myself, “What are you doing to contribute to society? What are you doing so the work done is not in vain? What fear is holding you back?” and it always pushes me to take my new first step.
Nicole: I grew up in rural Vermont and was in elementary school when MLK Jr. Day became a holiday. I remember resistance from the school and parents in adopting the holiday. I don’t know when Vermont adopted it, but it wasn’t until I attended high school in New Haven, Connecticut that I remember it being recognized by the local government and school district and I really learned more about his legacy. I think the rural Vermonters’ resistance had more to do with ignorance about why we needed to remember this man and what he worked so hard for and the pure lack of people of color in that area. I am glad that my son now goes to a school that celebrates the day by having the whole school some sort of public service. The pandemic threw a wrench in that this year, but they will spend time learning about the Civil Rights Movement and the man himself. This is my favorite quote: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.” (MLK Jr)
Sai: What is so special about January 18th or MLK Jr day, if you were to just think of it as another National Holiday? Is there anything achieved if his legacy is remembered once a year? Especially, during these tough times, you should ponder upon how HE made such a huge impact on people’s lives, is nothing short of amazing!! He did not pick up any fights or weapons. His weapons were truth, peace, and unconditional love. It takes a lot of guts to face these weapons, and his demise proved that it was a cowardly act. I often compare him to Mahatma Gandhi, and I try to run my life on the basis of these teachings, to walk on truth, peace, and unconditional love. This is exactly what I try to teach my children as well.
His famous saying “Free at last, god almighty, I free at last” has such deeper meaning than just racial oppression. It was to get guaranteed rights to life, liberty, and the struggle we all make for the pursuit of happiness for all human beings. My favorite phrase — “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.” (MLK Jr)
Sean: My favorite phrase of MLK Jr is, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” (MLK Jr)
The easiest thing one can do when met with defeat is quit. However, greater opportunity in life can often be found on the other side of defeat and all you need to do is keep moving forward.
Jathan: Words cannot express how thankful I am for a leader like Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. to pave the way and ultimately give his life at only age 39 while standing up for what is right. Some find it hard to have a voice in today’s society but think of how almost impossible it would have been to do so in the 1950s and ’60s. For this, I am truly thankful.
Doctor King’s non-violent communication is deep-rooted in all that I try to do, and it is how I teach my children and grandbaby to live. Having to get through some extremely trying times in life, most notably the loss of our 19-year-old son, Brendan, I always find myself pressing on. Something positive must come from him no longer being with us at such a young age. Being a witness to my amazing mother, who leads by example, pushing any and all roadblocks placed in her way, I’ve always been motivated to do the same, which is why this quote resonates so closely within me: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” (MLK Jr) I ask that no matter how the world around you gets you down, this is the direction that you should follow every single day.
Jeff: There’s a quote that is more on my mind of late that I want to draw attention to. It’s from a famous speech he gave on education and it reads: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” (MLK Jr)
This weighs heavily on my mind these days, as first my Mom was a teacher and education is very near and dear to me. At the same time, as I interact in the world, I encounter more and more people who lack real strength of character. I think we’ve forgotten, and in some cases even turned away, the idea that education is supposed to teach character. I lived in Switzerland for 3 years and I saw a VERY different education system in action. It was one that taught the “Swiss Way of Live” and character, and I feel we use to teach this in the US and we just don’t anymore. I want us to be reminded of Dr. King’s word because I believe he was a man of the purest and utmost in character and if we really want to one day live in a nation that “will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed” then we have to get back to teaching character.
Thank you all for taking this intimate journey alongside some of our Tenfolders, and we hope you can relate to some of their courageous words. We ask that you take a moment today and over the upcoming weeks to reflect on how the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. has influenced you. However, it should not stop there. As we lead into our first Black History Month since so much recent racial and political unrest in our country, take even more moments to identify and take action, seeing how you can make a positive difference in the community and world around you.
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- Celebrating The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. with Tenfolders - January 18, 2021