We Shall Overcome
A Belief Amid Darkness

The two things that dramatically changed my life were two dances with death and my trip to Myanmar (Burma).  Additionally, I am intrigued by how those two dances and Myanmar morph together on occasion.  Those three events and their blending radically changed who I am.

Randy Pausch was my teacher about doing the dances.  He was able to encapsulate the changes that can occur when one skates close to death.  I gleaned a treasure trove from him.   As I watched the video of his Last Lecture, many of the pieces of the puzzle of my life began to fall into place.  For the first time, I understood my transformation.

The other metamorphosis occurred in Myanmar.  I had spent a month traveling in that emerging country.  I interviewed Min Ko Naing, who is from my perspective, Bobby Kennedy for the people in Myanmar.  He invited me to Myanmar's Independence Day luncheon, which was on January 4, 2015.  During the meal, Min Ko Naing asked me if I wanted to attend a protest rally at Sule Pagoda in Yangon.  Going to a protest rally in a military dictatorship took me back to the civil rights movement in America during the 60s.

While I walked around in the demonstration, I could hear in the background the speeches of Min Ko Naing and the others of the 8888 Uprising.  Aung San Suu Kyi spoke near Sule Pagoda on August 8, 1988.  A couple hundred thousand people protested the military dictatorship in the area around Sule Pagoda.  The government killed an estimated 10,000 protesters as a result of the rally in Yangon and other protests across the country.  Hence the name, 8888 Uprising.

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The 8888 Uprising

However, what I heard at the rally in my head, was Joan Baez singing We Shall Overcome.  My mind returned to the 60s in America during the civil rights demonstrations.  Then, moments later, I was back in Yangon.  That experience for me was a type of religious experience.  It changed me by making me more driven to help address issues facing us in the world.  Therefore, We Shall Overcome truly resonates with me as an anthem for positive change in a troubled world where darkness and despair haunt millions. 

In the wake of Orlando, Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke in support of Congress passing gun legislation to keep terrorists and people with psychological problems from getting guns.  She warned Congress, "And if we fail to act, the next time someone uses a gun to kill one of us, a gun that we could have kept out of the hands of a terrorist, then members of this Congress will have blood on our hands."

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Then the House of Representatives met June 22-23, 2016.  I watched with interest many of the House Democrats stage a sit-in on the floor of the House. 

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Rep. John Lewis at the sit-in

Rep. John Lewis lead the sit-in in the House and was one of the major leaders of the civil rights movement a half century ago. 

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Rep. John Lewis a half century ago

This photo is John Lewis being arrested in Nashville, TN in 1964.

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Rep. John Lewis getting beaten on the march from Selma to Montgomery

On Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, Rep. John Lewis got clubbed while on the march from Selma to Montgomery, AL. 

Description: What a difference 50-years makes.

What a difference 50-years makes.

A half century later, President Obama and Rep. John Lewis marched together remembering Bloody Sunday on the 50th anniversary of the march.  We need to address any form of discrimination.  If we don't, we will carry the legacy of not dealing with the George Wallaces of America today.  If we don't standup against the NRA, we will allow them to govern America. 

Another song of the 60s was Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind.  Dylan believes that it is only a matter of time.

Yes and how many times must a man look up,
Before he can see the sky?
Yes and how many ears must one man have,
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes and how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?

The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

There I was watching the sit-in late in the evening when suddenly what did I hear?  We Shall Overcome.  I heard that song in the 60s, I heard that anthem again in Yangon a year and a half ago, and I was hearing those words sung from the floor of the House of Representatives.

Randy Pausch said during his Last Lecture, "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."  How we play our hand will leave America and the world our legacy.  Think about how you will be remembered, and then act. 

Bobby Kennedy

Bobby Kennedy

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Burma flag

Burmese independence flag

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On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

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Connecting The Dots

Connecting the Dots

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Darkest Before Dawn

Darkest Before Dawn

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

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My Hauntings

My Hauntings

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An old man and his grandson

An Old Man and His Grandson

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