Two For Two: Chapter VII

Two For Two: Chapter VII


Martin Luther King Jr. Day has always been an important day for me. While growing up in Boston, there was always an MLK event that would call for a performance from the students of Project STEP or at my church. When I came to Indiana University, I remember Alvoy asking me “What are you doing for MLK Day?” As a freshman in college who wasn’t going to be asked to perform, I was kind of looking forward to sleeping in and maybe doing something later in the day. However, Alvoy expressed the importance of the day to him as a kid growing up in Atlanta, Georgia. He always made sure that everyone had plans for MLK Day; the whole day. Church, community service, activism, marches – MLK was as packed as a day on an international tour. I can still hear him saying “MLK Day is a Day On, NOT a Day Off!”During my sophomore year of college, I joined the Gamma Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, which meant that instead of attending events, I was planning events. Martin Luther King Jr. became a part of Alpha Phi Alpha in 1952 while attending Boston University. In learning that he graduated high school by 15, graduated from Morehouse by 19, and graduated with a Doctorate of Philosophy in Systematic Theology from Boston University by 25 – it was evident to me that God and Education were two things that MLK prioritized.

Learning about his connection to Boston and Alpha Phi Alpha was admittedly part of the reason I joined Alpha Phi Alpha; to follow in the footsteps of greatness. So when it came to celebrating this greatness, I was fully on board. Going to Atlanta to visit his house in Atlanta on Auburn Ave. and the Ebenezer Baptist Church were moments that helped me to learn more about MLK and his upbringing. Visiting his monument in Washington DC was another high point and learning point for myself.

This year, I was invited to the Annual Celebration in Paradise Valley, where Dr. Karen Hardin was the Diversity Award recipient. I had met Dr. Hardin before, but on this day I learned SO MUCH more about her greatness. I learned that Dr. Hardin dedicated 31 years in the Maricopa Community College District where she served as a Counseling Faculty member, Career Center director and where she volunteered as the Faculty Advisor for the college students’ NAACP club. She has numerous years of experience instructing psychology and counseling courses at the graduate and undergraduate level. Today she serves as the president of the Maricopa County Branch of the NAACP after she became president in December 2017.

On this day, she gave a speech that detailed her interpretation of a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., which he gave to Oberlin students in 1964 (maybe 1965). One of the prominent lines of this speech is “The time is always right to do what is right” (also stated as “The time is always ripe to do right”). Although the quote originated in the thought that we must all stand against injustice and it’s never too late to stand up against said injustice; specifically in the realm of civil rights – it made me think about how things are today. Her words brought me to a place of self reflection that made me think about the “right” that I am doing and not doing. It made me think about the difference between “doing right for the world” vs “doing right for ones self”. On being a strong subscriber to “focus on what you can control and let go of the rest” and the Serenity Prayer the words of Dr. Hardin refocused me. It made me “rededicate” myself to doing the small things necessary to make the larger things happen. There are so many issues in our world and personal lives today. I won’t go down the list, but it moved me to ask you:

  1. What is something that you can do right to make this world a better place?
  2. What is something small that you can do to make a major impact?