This is a post I wrote for City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley’s official blog. Although I am currently serving as a corps member at this site, anything expressed on asktheintp is my opinion and does not reflect the views of City Year or AmeriCorps. For more information about City Year, visit cityyear.org.
On Monday, January 17, 2011, I will proudly serve alongside my teammates to honor the legacy of the greatest American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I don’t say that lightly – he was not just a civil rights leader, not just a charismatic orator, not just a philosopher: he defined a culture. He, a person of color during Jim Crow, Superpower, Vietnam-era America, schooled Americans on the proper way to get things done.
He created a new method for affecting social change in our country.
“NO,” I imagine him saying in his time. “THIS is how we are going to make change in America. We’ll do it non-violently. We’ll do it with dignity and with respect for one another.” There aren’t many countries in the world where that is true.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Strength to Love, 1963
I know that this quotation has much deeper meanings, but truthfully, it is the quotation that got me through my service year.
It was the hardest year of my life. I have never put so much of my soul in any other thing, but what a thing to put my soul into! I gave a year, I changed the world, and still I didn’t feel like I gave enough. That’s why I came back to City Year for round two.
I believe Dr. King would be proud of our corps.
We return day after day to fight injustice, even though it’s hard and tedious and exhausting. We understand that if the solution were easy, we wouldn’t be here. Dr. King believed that change comes not from violence and hate, but from love.
That’s how City Year operates – we love. We give of ourselves. We care. Even when it’s challenging or controversial, our weapon of choice is loving service.