Gadfly’s MLK Day 2019

“Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thanks to a nudge from follower Doug Roysdon, Gadfly went to the Ice House to see art work and to hear poems and songs from the Northeast Middle School “Rally 4 Peace” club under the guidance of Denise Parker, Christopher Bellman, and Jennifer Doncsecz.

And then to Banko Alehouse Cinema for a showing of Anita, Freida Mock’s documentary about Anita Hill, who “sparked a national conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace when she testified at the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas in 1991” – followed by a discussion with our US representative Susan Wild, our Councilwoman Olga Negron, our NAACP president Esther Lee, and Lehigh University prof Suzanne Edwards, moderated by Deborah Sacarakis.

Both events were dramatic examples of people finding their voices.

Speaking out is dear to Gadfly’s heart and mission.

It’s not ever easy.

We sometimes think that MLK, 26 when he went to Memphis, was fearless, but he was almost always afraid, even when denying it.

Hill was 35 when she found her voice, reluctantly but inescapably. “It would have been more comfortable to remain silent,” she said, “[but] I felt that I had to tell the truth. I could not keep silent.”

But when teens and pre-teens find their voices, it is unnerving, almost other-worldly.

Listen to Frances defuse hate:

Listen to Bianca indict the love that is deadly:

Listen to Justin daring violence to sit down:

Listen to Elyza’s fight song:

A few audience members at Banko sounded a note of weary impatience and frustration at the rate of social change.

What we need is a steady stream of people who cannot not speak out.

That promise filled the Ice House.

As Elyza said, what Rally 4 Peace is “really about is changing the world and spreading world-wide peace through many different and beautiful forms of art.”

A big wave of the Gadfly wings to Northeast Middle School.