On Wednesday August 28, President Obama, Clinton, Carter, the King Family and hundreds of thousands of people celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on the National Mall. As I reflected both on the march and the stirring photo above from 1963, I was amazed with what it must have been like to walk out from under the shadow of President Lincoln, the “Great Emancipator” and into a sea of humanity of still seeking liberation and the equality promised by President Jefferson who’s memorial sat off in the distance in front of Dr. King.
A symbolic moment that changed the country literally and figuratively not only served as a continued impetus for social and civic change and civil rights, but also served as a key expansion of the notion of self-less service to others and helping one’s fellow man. Nowhere are the concepts more put into practice and appreciated than within the non-profit sector where consideration for others is paramount on a daily basis. Those of us who serve in this capacity understand that where we are diminished in part we are diminished as a whole. We are only as strong as the weakest among us and a society that ignores the problems of the poor while enjoying prosperity built off of their backs is bound to fail. Dr. King said it best when he stated,
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
The work of so many who provide, food, clothing, shelter, education, counseling, job training, mentoring or just small gestures of kindness, uplift humanity every day. By doing so we not only enhance those we serve but ourselves as well.