Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Award Honors Making a Difference

Arrested for Justice

He made a difference. Sitting for justice and being arrested in the 60’s still sends a message today. The Very Rev. James Morton, retired dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, founder of The Interfaith Center, and prior recipient of the NYTS Urban Angel Award, received the Global Harmony award recently from the International Communications Association. Morton reflected, “I have gone to jail and I’m very proud of that.”

Let there be Light

Morton, a warm a colorful speaker, navigated a lighting problem gracefully with the aid of two hand-held flashlights. Let there be light!” he intoned at one point underscoring a higher hand in all we do. He recalled traversing from Chicago to be in Selma, AL for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “The week of nonviolent protest on one hand was contrasted by violence from state troopers on the other.” I wonder... have we really come a long way?

God’s Remarkable Creation

Activist, actress and writer Ruby Dee made a difference too. She was also honored by the New York Metropolitan Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolence, an NGO of the United Nations. “I deserve this award,” Dee chided. “I’m a human…one of the most remarkable creations on all the earth. And, I’m beginning to get the idea of who I am. What an astonishing part is the ‘me’ that is creation!”

Today is Ours

After quoting remembrances of Martin Luther King, Dee closed sparking the room with this poem:
Today is ours
Let’s live it
Love is strong
Let’s give it
A song can help
Let’s sing it
Peace is dear
Let’s bring it
The past is gone
Don’t rue it
Our work is here
Let’s do it
Our world is wrong
Let’s right it
The battle hard
Let’s fight it
The road is rough
Let’s clear it
The future vast
Don’t fear it
Is faith asleep?
Let’s wake it
Today is ours
Let’s take it.

Peter Zehren is Vice President for Development and Insitutional Advancement at New York Theological Seminary.

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