Integrity Inspiration Award on April 4, 2008

by Dr. David Gruder

The recipient of my Integrity Inspiration award on this day that marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., is this visionary recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

The following speech by Dr. King is one of his most powerful and it is sadly as relevant today as it was back then. I remember parts from when he first gave it but it has far more meaning to me today than my tender age of fourteen made it possible for me to fully appreciate at that time.

I feel deep a valuable kind of sadness revisiting this speech. I am sad because we have learned so little as a society since the 1960s about the consequences of lack of integrity. I am sad because listening to King’s voice again reminds me of the deep grief I felt when John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, when his brother Robert was assassinated the same year that Dr. King was (1968), and when the rage over our cultural polarization reached a horrible peak in 1970 during the Kent State Massacre.

I invite you to allow yourself the time to listen to Dr. King’s entire speech. Focus in particular on the timeless themes he touches upon that call all of us to a higher level of societal integrity that transcends political, cultural, racial and religious differences. Then allow yourself to consider what fits for you to do as an individual citizen to further boost your self-integrity, relationship, societal and leadership integrity.

May Dr. King’s passion inspire you to live passionately from your own deepest love-based wisdom, rather than be blinded by the temptation to indulge cultural,  religious, political or national arrogance, or be whipped into passivity by the temptation to abdicate personal, relationship or social responsibility.

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