Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: A dreamer and a fighter .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Monday, January 15, 2007

A dreamer and a fighter


Houston Chronicle Posted by Picasa

Last Friday, the Houston Independent School District held the finals for their 11th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. In honor of the late Dr. King’s day, I’d like to share with you one young boy’s version of his achieving his dream - not through peaceful protest, but through conflict.

Harvey Pittman II, a 10-year-old boy whose thin frame belied his loud voice, was supposed to be honoring Martin Luther King Jr., the slain civil rights leader known for his nonviolent approach.

Pittman, however, said his own dream was to fight.

"I know, I know," he said Friday, "with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the fight in our neighborhoods, I know you're probably thinking, 'Please, no more fighting.'

"But the fight I'm dreaming about is the fight for a better education, caring parents and honest politicians."

Pittman, a bespectacled fifth-grader, didn't stop there during the 11th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition.

"Parents, are you satisfied with the present condition of the black family?" he asked. "Teachers, are you fighting for your students? Politicians, are you fighting for our rights? Preachers, are you practicing what you preach?"

Pittman's words and delivery - as polished as a politician's - won him first place and a $1,000 savings bond. Ten students from across the Houston Independent School District earned a spot in the contest, which required them to write and give a speech answering the question, "If you could share your dream with Dr. King, what would it be?"

Young Pittman makes a very good point. How can we expect to achieve greatness, if mediocrity among our leaders - in the family, school, church and government - is the acceptable norm?

Here’s hoping he gets his message across enough to make a difference.

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