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GUEST COLUMN: Launching into the New Year 2018

Willie Mae Samuel

Willie Mae Samuel, founder and director of the African American Connection for the Performing Arts in Rome

A successful launch into the future involves a spirit void of me, myself and I. The launch must be done with a “we win” in mind instead of “I win, you lose.” If this country as a whole had refused to step up and reveal its best self, we would still be in complete darkness. When America displays her best self it shames those who are revealing the rawness of human beings. 

According to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “The universe is so structured that things do not quite work out rightly, if men are not diligent in their concern for others. The self cannot be self without other selves. I cannot reach fulfillment without thou. Social psychologists tell us that we cannot truly be persons unless we interact with other persons. All life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” This is what John Donne meant when he wrote that no man is an island unto himself. He stated each man is a part of the main. Donne also stated that if a pebble washes off the main into the ocean the main will have been affected. Just because it is a pebble, and not a boulder, does not make it any less important to the main. We can never forget that, and if we do we are forever lost in the darkness of human degradation. The humanity of others rest in the ability for each one to see and respect the dignity and humanity of others.

Keeping this truth in mind as we step over into 2018, America must return to decency, tolerance, compassion, kindness and especially truth. We seem to be losing the war with truth. Truth must win because we the people aim at continuing to build a more perfect union. We cannot let lies keep us in the dark. Truth shines light. Lies lead with darkness into darkness. Following the light brought us out of the grips of taxation without representation, unchained the slaves, and reduced the abusiveness of Native Americans. Truth and light helped us to do away with the written Black Codes and the Jim Crow Laws. Truth lead this country to elect the first president of color.  Now we are allowing the darkness of lies to pull us onto a path of strife, hatred and destruction, which will cause us to have to start all over again. We will be liken unto the people of Israel who — due to disobedience — were forced to march in the wilderness for 40 years, going nowhere.

Dr. King goes on to remind us,  “Every man must be respected because God loves him. The worth of an individual does not lie in the measure of his intellect, his racial origin, or his social position. Human worth lies in his relatedness to God. An individual has value because he has value to God. Whenever this is recognized, ‘whiteness’ and ‘blackness’ pass away as determinants in a relationship.”

As we get ready to board, before stepping onto the launching pad, there are a few items that are too heavy and destructive to travel with on this journey in 2018. You will find at the entrance a receptacle for items to discard: a depraved and a lying spirit, “me, myself and I” attitude, and “I win, you lose” attitude. If, as we travel, and we detect that the trip is rocky and turbulent, that means that someone forgot to discard negative items at the door, or is attempting to hide his/her true nature. Let us not hesitate to be the voice to speak up and out, even if one of our closest friends is found guilty. If we are forced to make an emergency landing it will only be for a short period of time. Remember we only have 365 days to make our mark for the God we serve, our children and the world. Are you ready?

Willie Mae Samuel is the founder and director of the African American Connection for the Performing Arts in Rome.