Dreams for NYC inspired by MLK

At the Apollo in Harlem yesterday, WNYC, the most listened to radio station in the USA, assembled an amazing group of ‘thought leaders’ for a conversation about NYC in 2014 based on the moral compass established by Martin Luther King Jr in the 14 years of his public life. It was an inspiring event, bursting with intelligence, history and music. There was a Buddhist Baptist, political historians, professors, a congressman and filmmakers.  The conversation weaved through politics, culture, faith, education and justice, all the time reflecting back to the influence of King and where we stand now, 50 years on from the signing of the Civil Rights Law. It was not a nostalgic gathering, but more a measure of then and now. One speaker spoke of ongoing racism being the result of the failure of democracy, that democracy is a great idea, but it is not practiced in the United States. He said that the USA congratulates itself on things it hasn’t done yet, building memorials for MLK instead of following through on his ideals… ideals like the minimum wage being raised to $10.10 so that people need not work and be in poverty at the same time…

‘The times they are a-changing’ was sung by Morley in the spirit of Bob Dylan in 1964, when in one short year, everything was different. This lead to a discussion about moments of rupture in history, where time seems to be speeding up and suddenly events bubble with tremendous possibility. The hope of Obama came and went, there were ‘cursory moments rather than fundamental change’, but in 2014 the new Mayor ( and the new Pope ) give new promise. De Blasio won the election on a ticket of inequality and he and his policies were mentioned several times during the event with the question, what is the Big Apple going to do with this opportunity…?

I could listen to King’s oratory all day, there is so much soul in his words. Excerpts from his speeches were read and the inspiration of his dreams were well and truly alive in all the conversations. It was a thoughtful event, and I wanted to hear more. But the time for talking was over, as the joyous energy of the Gospel for Teens Choir took us tapping onto the street…

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2 Responses to Dreams for NYC inspired by MLK

  1. Dallas Colley says:

    WOW!

  2. Tess says:

    Very interesting indeed! Thanks for sharing this Gabrielle. I wonder how things will look in another 50 years time? Things have definitely progressed since MLK made his speech but not as much as we would have hoped.

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