At the March on Washington in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the “fierce urgency of now.” The time comes in most (every?) liberation movements when the deep longing for change makes waiting for it no longer an option. At the same time, King reminded people that the struggle for equality and dignity is a long and difficult path. This is the source for his often-quoted “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
I wonder whether every liberation movement is launched with the fuel of the deep longing for change, and is sustained through difficulty by the knowledge that the timelines are often longer than the oppressed wish.
I write this as a person who has mostly benefitted from these unjust systems, and my point is not to encourage patience in order to defend and retain my position. I want to draw attention to the fact that the patterns King spoke about in the external world can be mapped over to the interior world.
The alcoholic who hits bottom and is “sick and tired of being sick and tired” also knows the fierce urgency of now, and can find strength in acknowledging the length of the journey yet to be traveled.
Transformation – globally, societally, personally – is a long road, and not one to be walked alone.
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