It was immensely heartwarming on a cold January 21 morning to participate in New Braunfels march honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. We had a good turnout of Unity people and I also enjoyed meeting some of the organizers from the local MLK Association and talking with others during the six blocks from the park to the gazebo. Crossing the bridge together impressed me as a symbolic moment, as no doubt envisioned by the planners. I walked most of the way alongside a new friend who is working within the Catholic church to raise awareness and action on social justice issues. She said she loves Unity teachings and didn’t know about our church, but I expect that at this rate Unity of New Braunfels will not remain the town’s best kept secret for long!
I’m not the best judge of crowd sizes, but would estimate over 300 people made it to the ceremonies at the Civic Center. [Editing note: I later learned it was 800, which gives credence to my disclaimer. Ha!] The program ran a little too long to keep everyone in their seats, but the standout portions for me were:
- New Braunfels’ own Broadway-quality soloist, Yesenia McNett
- a gripping review of tumultuous events leading up to the foundation-shaking August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and
- a 2019 full re-enactment of Dr. King’s immortal “I Have a Dream” speech before 250,000 people on that long ago day, delivered in the magnificent booming voice of a retired military chaplain whose name I regretfully can’t recall.
It is important to understand that a shameful period in American history remains unacknowledged and unsettled 55 years later, and that the Civil Rights Movement was not all Kumbayah—Dr. King was a radical agent for change who paid far too high a price for his courageous leadership and determination to conquer racism and inequality with nonviolent protest. I am honored to share space on the planet with all who continue to honor his legacy.
Listen to a one-minute clip of the chaplain’s re-enactment and if, like me, you had never heard the full speech, by all means do so now.
Scroll down for a few more photos of some of our church family with friends and neighbors met along the way. I was so inspired by the quote printed on our Unity t-shirts that it resulted in a sonnet. Dr. King gets credit for teeing up the metaphor so brilliantly, and the final line is an adaptation of an AA adage that I first heard in conversation with a friend just last week.
“We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The lifeblood of the planet is in peril
of swift extinction by exsanguination
from injuries inflicted by the feral
barbarians attacking its foundation.
Physicians for society have proffered
a proven remedy through mass injection
of Zenicillin. Hordes, instead, have coffered
an arsenal of hate to breed infection.
But deep within the body, organisms
are gathering in overwhelming numbers
to spread the needle’s healing for our schisms,
awakening compassion where it slumbers.
The power of love is dazzling when it stirs.
Don’t flee before the miracle occurs.
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