November 29, 2012
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Theme: “Moral and Innovative Leadership” Rev. Bernice King, CEO of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change
I am so delighted to be among a room full of the children of God,who are committed and devoted to building healthy families, ethical societies, and creating a global culture of peace. I want to honor the Excellencies that are here tonight, Dr. Moon, this is my first time meeting him, and I am in awe and inspired by your spirit and by the commitment that God has placed in your life. You are certainly one of the chosen ones.
The co-chairs Dr. Schuller, it’s an honor to meet you tonight as well, and to my good friend Senator Emmanuel Jones and to all of you wonderful delegates. Let me say that I earnestly believe that if my father were living today, his heart would be warmed by the work of this great organization around the world. And in fact, I believe without a shadow of a doubt, he would be a part of your group.
For all he knew was peace, he lived it, he breathed it, and he taught it. Next year, we will be celebrating, remembering the 50th anniversary of the “I have a dream” speech in our nation’s capital here in America. And we’re calling the world to come together on that day. Because I earnestly believe that in my lifetime, it will perhaps be the only time that we will have an opportunity as a world, to come together and really think about why God has placed us in this world.
And to commit ourselves to not just seeing ourselves as citizens of whatever country nation or land we come from, but to see ourselves as global and world citizens. Because at the end of the day, no matter where you come from, the bottom line is, that he has created from one blood, all peoples to dwell upon the face of the earth, and we are indeed, brothers and sisters.
United by one father, and ladies we should never be intimidated by that word, because essentially that word means originator. In 1967, my father wrote a book entitled, “Where do we go from here? Chaos or community?” And he had a chapter in that book in fact it was the last chapter in the book entitled “The World House.”
And in that chapter he shared a few things that were just as relevant as they were in 1967, because he was a man of faith who had a prophetic gift on his life. In fact, when he was introduced in 1963, to this nation, when he delivered now what is now his famous “I have a dream speech”, and he was introduced as a moral leader of America.
‘My father, a moral leader’
And I often remind people wherever I go, that I don’t characterize my father as a civil rights leader, I characterize him first and foremost as a spiritual leader, as a man of God, as a moral leader who just happened to impact civil and human rights. And so everything that he did came out of his spiritual foundation.
It didn’t come from his political ideology. In a sense it really didn’t come from his religious beliefs, it came from his spiritual beliefs. And so that was a spiritual movement that he led, that impacted civil rights. And if you read everything that he wrote, if you listen to all of his words and speeches, you would have to be an extremely naïve person to not know that that was a man sent by the most high God.
And so he had an assignment to awaken us to a higher spiritual plain. He was calling us back to some principles and values that in a real sense are the same principles and values that no matter where you live, no matter where your nationality, your ethnicity, your culture, at the end of the day, those principles and values transcend any particular generation, which means that they are everlasting. And he called us back to that foundation. He was injected into time to awaken us to who we really are. He was trying to get us to see that we really are all Kings. That’s why God made him a King.
And that’s not a masculine or feminine terminology, that’s an understanding that you’ve been placed with a responsibility to stewards this earth’s resources and relationships in an ethical and in a moral way. And so as he wrote in that “World House” he challenged us to remain awake through a great revolution.
He shared the story of a man called Rip Van Wrinkle who came up to a mountain and then took a rest. He was tired, perhaps from all of his labor. Took a nap. When he went in to take a nap, there was a picture of King George on the wall. When he finally woke up, there was a picture of President George Washington.
I don’t character my father as a civil rights leader, I characterize him first and foremost as a spiritual leader, as a man of God, as a moral leader who just happened to impact civil and human rights. And so everything that he did came out of his spiritual foundation.
In other words, he slept through a revolution. And we’re at a critical state in our nation and world That it’s important that there be a cadre of individuals who do not sleep through this great revolution, an undercurrent that is sweeping our world right now. And as Dr. Moon shared with me when we were together, a little bit ago, it really it the New Great Awakening that is happening, and you are the chosen ones.
Many have been called, many are trying, but they are few who are chosen. And just experiencing the spiritual of your leadership, and what is happening in this room and the enormous work that you’re doing around the world, I believe that this is a chosen endeavor.
And closing in that particular writing that my father shared with us, he reminded us that we are at a very critical place in the world that we must have a radical underlined, by me, revolution of values. But we must rapidly become a person centered society, rather than a thing oriented society. That people have to be placed back at the center and the core of everything that we do
That the world problems that we’re addressing, will only be handled and transformed if people embrace a higher mindset. It does require a transformation of mind now, and a different value system. And so we at the King Center have been, since my mother founded it, some 44 years ago, as an institution the official living memorial to educate and train people in the principles and the methodology of non-violence as embodied and taught my father, Martin Luther King, Jr., and we’ve literally trained 1,000s.
We don’t’ often get credit for it, but the reason why there is recognition for Martin Luther King, Jr. the way that he’s recognized today, it is because my mother felt the sense of call to continue his work. But more importantly, to teach people what really fueled that movement. And she didn’t do it as an afterthought, because she was truly a partner in that movement.
In fact an activist in her own right before she met my father. So she established that institution in the basement of our house, and I grew up with the king center. So, it’s a part of me. And I’m committed to this process. There is no other way. As I father said, we are threatened by the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism all over this world
And the only way that it’s going to be different is if enough courageous, strong, daring, but more importantly, individuals who are consumed with unconditional love, are at the helm of leading in this new Great Awakening.
Thank you for having me. I look forward to joining the youth on this Sunday. And I will say, for me God bless you on tonight.