Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. He once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?‘”
Tomorrow is the U.S. federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. King.
Coincidently, last week I had the opportunity to attend the traveling musical, Memphis. This was an outstanding musical but the underlying theme of the musical was racial tension, discrimination and civil rights (or lack of). At intermission, I ran into Thomas Warren, who I first met when we participated in the same class of Leadership Omaha almost 20 years ago. Thomas served the citizens of Omaha for 24 years in the Omaha Police Department, the last four as Omaha’s first African-American police chief.
Chief Warren now continues to serve the community as “chief” (actually president & Chief Executive Officer) of the Urban League of Nebraska (http://www.urbanleagueneb.org/).
For more than 80 years, the Urban League of Nebraska has been committed to improving our community’s social and economic conditions. The Urban League offers programs and services focused on empowering Nebraska’s youth, providing career support, finding affordable health care services and creating safer communities. The Urban League of Nebraska also invests in community leaders, connecting individuals and organizations to volunteer and leadership opportunities. They do great work.
The Urban League of Nebraska was one of the first organizations which I ever served on the board, and did so from 1992 to 1997, serving as vice-chairman & treasurer in 1997. The organization provided me with a great experience to learn and serve, and I will always cherish the opportunity.
Last week, I fulfilled my hands-on giving by driving to the Urban League of Nebraska headquarters at 30th & Lake. Coincidentally, I showed up at the exact time for their January board meeting and I briefly visited with Mary Thomas at the front desk (who has been at the Urban League long enough to remember me on the board!) and Thomas Warren.
To round out the week, somewhat unexpectedly, we went and saw Lincoln, a 2-1/2 hour movie that is more about the 13th Amendment than Lincoln.
The combination of all of the above has reinforced in me the powerful and important meaning of this holiday.