9: Inciting a True Revolution of Values with Dr. MLK Jr.
In this episode, Andréa shares about a new project she's putting into the world, explores Dr. Martin Luther King's concept of a Revolution of Values and dives into what it looks like to work your values in way that support the cultivation of a world that works for everyone.
Find out more about + sign up for the Revolution of Values workshop series
This website offers the full audio + a transcript of “Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence.”
You’re listening to A CALL TO SERVE. This is a podcast calling entrepreneurs, coaches, educators, healers, creatives and other people with a vision for change in their communities to show up with integrity, use their power and practice radical service so that they can make their impact in the world in the most sustainable ways. My name is Andréa Ranae, I’m a facilitator and coach focusing my work on holding space for liberatory leadership and I am so excited that you’re here! Let’s get into this episode.
I don’t know about you, but I can sense the collective anxiety and hopelessness around the state of our world increasing everyday. There is so much to tend to, so much to repair, to dismantle, to create, to abolish. And Mama Earth has been telling us to get it together for a while now.
So what we do right now matters (but not as much or as little as you think, but it matters). We’ve got a decision to make. About who we want to be during this moment in history and what kind of world we will leave to our descendants (of blood and/or love). With so much at risk, “now” is both too late and right on time.
So I had this idea, that I’m so so excited about, to start a new workshop series called a Revolution of Values, inspired by a sermon Dr. MLK Jr. gave titled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” He gave this speech one year prior to his assassination (to the day, he gave this sermon on April 4, 1967 and was assassinated on April 4, 1968) at the height of the Vietnam War.
And y’all the first time I listened to the audio of it, I had to pause multiple times to take a breather. He was such a powerful speaker, yes. But also his message, the decisions he made while delivering his message, so much of what he gifted the world with just hits me right at my core. So I’m going to share a few snippets with you, but I’ve linked the full speech transcript and audio in the show notes at andrearanae.com/acts/9.
So here are the pieces that
He shared about why he’d made the decision to speak up and out opposing the continuation of the war in Vietnam.
“I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice.”
And as I was listening to the full sermon the other day I was reminded so much of where we are, specifically in the United States right now, specifically in Protestant, Catholic or Christian religions where there is a decision point about whether to speak out against the oppression and violence being done at the hands of our government. He shared his gratitude and hope that a similar decision was being made by the leadership at the time.
“Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.”
He spent a huge chunk of time talking about and shedding light on the timeline history of the war and the harm the US had at that point done, which I thought was so epic for lack of a better word because of the way he brought humanity back into the conversation.
“We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing -- in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.”
And made a case for compassion in the face of the people we call our enemies:
“Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.”
And he also took a moment to address the harm being done on all ends of the war and conflict:
“At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called "enemy," I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.”
He called for 5 concrete actions the US government needed to take remove itself from the conflict + possibilities for ongoing reparation for all involved and affected.
He shared that “we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.”
That we, as a society and as citizens of the world, need to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves and be about what we talk about – not in those words, but basically.
He made his call to action very clear:
Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment, we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain."
A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is, in reality, a call for an all-embracing -- embracing and unconditional love for all mankind.
So a true revolution of values. Some of the values I picked up on in these clips and throughout the entire sermon: unconditional love, compassion, reparation and justice, accountability and so much more. Love that.
And I want to make sure I make clear that because I am inspired by and highlight Martin Luther King Jr. does not mean that I am saying that he’s perfect or that this sermon was perfect. He was human. And by nature, he absolutely did harm during his time on earth, but he also contributed this beautiful, necessary call to action and so much more, but this message in particular has been so wildly underheard. And my hope is that this series of workshops will do his message justice and get it into the hand of many, many more people.
Because we all have values, or qualities and principles, that we regard as central to who we are and how we wish to show up in the world. Some we’ve chosen consciously and others we’ve gathered subconsciously over the course of our lives, especially in our childhood. But we are way past due for a #RevolutionofValues. For a deep investigation into the values we’re currently putting into practice and to check in with ourselves and each other to see if that’s really in alignment with what we actually want to create in the world. And to do that through imperfect action and loving accountability.
That’s what we’re digging into in the Revolution of Values workshops.
For me this is interwoven with something that I talk about constantly, this idea of Working Your Values – so being in the process of knowing, naming, defining, practicing and unlearning your values.
Here’s an example to make it super grounded for you: I’ve always loved and valued freedom and when I was younger it was mostly about freedom of expression. When I was a baby, that meant running around naked (because ugh, god, clothes) and fighting my mom everytime she tried to put on stockings for church. In school that meant if I ever felt like I was being treated wrongly, I would get a bit rebellious. But I quickly learned my expression was not okay so in order to cope, I took on the value of perfection and #perfectioninpractice looked like setting unreasonably high standard and expectations for myself and then freezing or stalling in the face of any task that, if I took it on, I might fail – that possibility was too much. I also stopped freely expressing my feelings and thoughts, because emotion is not okay and what if I say something tha t brings criticism my way or shows people just how unequipped I am. Or if I did share my thoughts I would intensely edit myself.
To get to where I’m at not, which is definitely not completely removed from this, but so, so muhc better. I’ve had unlearn these habits and practices and do some alchemy around it. And that’s looked like intentionally giving myself so much more space to make mistakes, allowing myself to be supported or even asking for support because I don’t need to live with the weight of the world on my shoulders and do everything my myself. 6 years ago it was absolutely unacceptable to cry in front of people and today I’m am such a crybaby it’s embarrassing in the best way.
But also, one of the gifts I got from intensely valuing perfection is also valuing excellence and there are ways valuing excellence can be really toxic and extreme especially when applying the value of perfection to it, but there’s also ways valuing excellence can be really beautiful especially when I’ve applied my value of freedom to it. So as I’ve unlearned the value of perfection, I’ve been able to realize that excellence can exist alongside imperfection. And that’s makes it so much more possible for me to get my voice, my vision, my creativity, ME, out into the world.
And my value of freedom has also radically changed and expanded as I’ve grown up. When i was a baby it was very much about me but as I’ve moved through life it’s expanded into being about us: Our personal freedom, collective freedom, financial, emotional physical freedom. Freedom from oppression and unnecessary pain and suffering. The freedom to be as you are and become what you wish to be.
And the ways I practice it has become less selective and more embodied and integrated into my everyday life, my business, big decisions I make, everything.
So #freedominpractice has changed so much for me and how I define I think has stayed the same I’m just now able to articulate it. For me, freedom means having the capacity and ability to act on your will.
How you define and practice freedom might be different, though. And this brings me to one of the most important points I want to make on this episode. I’ve shared all of this to share a little bit of my process and experience with working my values, but also to say that your process might be different.
We often talk about values as if they’re not something super unique to each and every human being, we assume that having the same values means that we’re all on the same page and there won’t be any conflict. And when we see that what we thought isn’t true, we punish or shame or dispose of each other.
We use values as a weapon to squash our differences rather than tapping into them as the resources that they are. We use our values to excuse the harm we’ve done or avoid taking responsibility. We use our values as signifiers of our worth or our goodness or our rightness.
We see things happen like an organization say that they value diversity and inclusion but the moment a diverse (or different) point of view is introduced that makes people in that org feel uncomfortable it’s not okay. We use our values to try to control ourselves and others.
We see this in governments, schools, families, communities, relationships.
So much energy is spent this way trying to grasp at safety or belonging or power for ourselves.
It makes me tear up just thinking about what could happen if we repurposed that energy and put it toward actually putting our values into practice in ways that center our humanity and our planet.
And I want to make sure I say this again so that you’ll hear me: our values are a resource that we can tap into to either create more of what we already have in the world or to create something different for ourselves and those that come after us.
And I will make the wild generalization to say that the majority of us in Western society know how to speak about our values, but we don’t know how to truly be about our values.
And our values may sometimes be held collectively, but they are practiced individually.
So this Revolution of Values workshop series is an opportunity to explore what your values mean to you and what it looks like for you to practice them based on your unique positioning in our world, your identities, your gifts, your power. And that’s really it. That’s what this is about. You tapping into the power that you have to influence change in your corner of the world. To shift our culture(s) into ones that are increasingly more accessible, sustainable, just, free and joyful for every body.
Each month we’ll explore a different value like love, abundance, justice, community, inclusion and so much more. And we’ll dig into what are some of the stories, beliefs and habits we each have that are toxic or harmful in relationship to that month’s value. And then go through this beautiful process and practice of looking at all of the practices, unique to you, that you could experiment with work that value in more liberatory ways, ways that are aligned with your vision for the world.
I hope you’ll join me for 1 or 2 or all of these workshops. I’m so excited to share this with you and learn and be in community with you. To find out more info, go to bit.ly/revolutionofvalues.
And before you go, if you’ve enjoyed this episode or you’re digging this podcast period, please consider leaving a rating and review for the show! Like actually sharing a few sentences about your experience of the show and what you’ve gotten from it.
Here’s an example from Miki DeVivo, who I get to love and connect with through our Teacher-Friend Dr Jenn McCabe, who I hope to have on the show soon. She said that it’s “Necessary and Beautiful...”:
“Andréa’s vision is like no other I’ve seen, or in this case, heard. Her commitment to humanity and creating a new way of being in relationship with each other is evident in all she does, and her podcast is a beautiful example of her work and her spirit. Her exploration with herself and her guests goes way beyond formulaic, easy answers to the true depth, meat and life of each moment and opportunity. She honors the roots of her ancestors and teachers while at the same time creating something completely new.”
These reviews help me get this show out to more folx and let’s me know 1. That what I’m doing matters and 2. What y’all might want more of from this show! My birthday is coming up and I would love to get 50 by the end of August.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for listening! Talk soon.
“Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate -- ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: ‘Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.’ ‘If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.’” - MLK Jr.
“Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.” - MLK Jr.