By Marshall Houston
I don’t have an “issue.” I don’t have any specific cause that dominates my thinking. I’ve struggled during this experience to be an “activist” because I’m not one—or at least not an “Activist” with a capital “A.”
I’ll probably never be an expert on any topic, but I believe that I can play a role—a unique role—in developing a deep commitment to human dignity and the empowerment of all people in society.
At best, I am a connector and sharer of ideas, knowledge, and strategies; at worst, I’m someone who loves people and good stories. I’ve embraced this role during my time as an undergraduate, and it has helped me on this ride.
Now that I’ve been on the bus for nearly ten days, I realize more than ever that it will take a comprehensive and unified effort of individuals working for the same general cause—the dignity and rights of all people—to move closer to the Beloved Community.
I understand that the path to the Beloved Community is a journey similar to a climber struggling up a mountain, step by step, with a fog clouding the line of sight up to the mountaintop. The climber can’t see the destination but, by looking back, sees that the view has never been better or as high.
All we can do is work together to continue taking forward step after forward step, no matter how small or difficult.
Though I lack an “issue,” three principles frame the way in which I look at the world, and by extension, the steps that I take.
1. I believe collaboration is innovation.
Innovation in this sense focuses on ideas coming from the collaborative efforts of a cognitively diverse group. By creating a space for free discourse that is rooted in dignity and equality, unexpected ideas emerge and lead to innovation.
2. I believe in the power of the human possible.
This means that each and every person has the ability to positively and uniquely contribute in society, and once individuals are enabled and ennobled to discover and utilize these talents, the possibilities are endless.
3. I believe we need community problem-solving in a spirit of creative entrepreneurship.
Community problem-solving stresses the impact that a group of individuals can have on society using resourcefulness, perseverance, and dedication. Creativity is not confined to the arts, and entrepreneurship is more than just for-profit businesses. Combined together in this spirit, people will approach problems with a belief that they can create something—anything—that improves society.
These three principles are my “issues” in life, and I am confident that the Beloved Community will emerge from a commitment to these ideals.