By Kathy Eastwood (USMA West Point, Public Affairs)January 29, 2016
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 29, 2016) -- The U.S. Military Academy honored the legacy of what many have called the 'father of the Civil Rights Movement,' Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jan 19 at the annual luncheon held at the West Point Club.
"Intelligence plus character-That is the goal of true education."
--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The event included two speakers who are active in the Westchester County community as well as the Dean of the Academic Board, Brig. Gen. Timothy Trainor. Attendees also heard the powerful a cappella vocals of the West Point Cadet Gospel Choir.
Trainor briefly spoke about King's legacy referencing his memorable "I Have a Dream" speech.
"I have a dream," Trainor said. "You know those famous words of Dr. Martin Luther King have inspired generations and continue to inspire today. People around the world, including in America, do not have equal access to what Norman Rockwell so vividly captured in his art as the four freedoms, freedom of speech, and freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear."
"The U.S. military has been on the forefront of leading social change in our country by allowing people who have dreams of serving to do so regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation," he added. "We at West Point and the U.S. Military must always be ready to answer the call both at home and abroad."
The luncheon included guest speaker Kenneth Chamberlain Jr., a work experience program developer with the Urban League of Westchester County.
"I have found that many who call themselves leaders are more concerned with position, not purpose: it's the difference between bosses and leaders," Chamberlain said. "Bosses will delegate, leaders will show you how it is done. They also surround themselves with other leaders, someone who can take the reins when necessary. If I choose to be anything, I choose to be a leader.
Leaders are courageous, truthful and decisive. What may be an honor and privilege of having the title of leader; it is a title that you have to earn. No one is just going to give it to you, and it is going to take personal and professional development."
Mayo Bartlett, principal attorney at the law offices of Mayo Bartlett, PLLC and co-founder of Safe Passage, a youth law forum bringing issues of law and policy to the classroom, spoke about the strength of the peaceful leader.
"We talk about Dr. King as being a peaceful person," Bartlett said. "And unfortunately, lots of times today we confuse being a peaceful person with being a weak person. I'd like to suggest to you that it is the exact opposite. Even Gandhi has been known to have said to some of his opponents; not all of my brothers and sisters are nonviolent, and I pray that you won't be our weaker brothers and sisters because those people will greet you as you greet them."
"You are an ambassador whether you choose to be or not," he added. "What kind of an ambassador do you want to be? I think you will be the best ambassador because you are going to be the one who volunteered to serve. When you go anywhere, to speak to high school students or overseas, your conduct will impact everyone."
Bartlett also spoke about the sacrifices King made by being out in the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement. "I think King embodied courage," Bartlett said. "He was a pacifist, but as you look (at the slides) you can see the bullet holes. Dr. King was a family man and he knew that his choices put himself and those who were near and dear to him at risk."