Avis Williams cropped 4

Avis Williams. 

This week, our nation celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I had the privilege of chairing the Selma Chapter of Links’ Annual MLK Unity Breakfast and our first ever virtual unity breakfast. Our theme was “Unity through the Pandemic: Selma’s Rise to Power”.

Through an engaging panel discussion facilitated by my Links sister Attorney Vernetta Perkins, we explored this topic in depth. The panelists considered the theme through the lens of education, politics, social and economics and I want to lift up a few points of interest around the idea of power.

A highlight of this discussion for me was defining power. Senator Malika Fortier defined power as the ability to get things done. She lamented on the fact that too often how one uses power can be either beneficial or detrimental. There are barriers when power is concentrated in a certain group or way, which creates a battle for power and can incite fear. “The beloved community is about us changing the systems and processes…so that we remove the barriers,” she explained.

Cliff Albright, a Selma native and co-founder of Black Voters Matter brought a unique perspective based on Dr. King’s analysis of power. It resonated with me as he shared that “Love and power are not in opposition…power is not a dirty word. Power without love is reckless and abusive…. Love without power is sentimental and anemic.” When considering this view, it puts many events from our nation’s history in perspective.

Representation is important but as a community we must also recognize our own power.

Cliff’s wife April, went a step further and addressed the fact that people in America have a problem with sharing power. I can certainly relate to her statements and beliefs. She commented that when Black people have been a part of any movement, it has been rooted in power and this is the case around the world. We have seen this many times in the last year and even earlier this month at our nation’s capital.

April went on to state that many people are trying to leverage power in order to change their lives. “We must remember that power can be an ocean, an earthquake or small drips over time that can still have an enormous impact. Individuals who simply vote and contribute positively in their community, are using their power [and it can cause major change in our society]”. As we learn how to use power, we can all win.

If you missed this thought provoking and yes, powerful discussion please check out the Selma Chapter of the Links’ Facebook page @selmalinksinc. While there, read all about our giving campaign and share it with your friends. Dr. King said, “Everybody can be great, because anyone can serve.” The Selma Links serves our community through health and human services, college scholarships, the arts and so much more. Your support is appreciated.

On another note, Selma City Schools will remain remote due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Additional updates will be provided in the coming weeks. For now, please continue to engage in our “Doing Our Part Everyday” campaign. Let’s slow the spread of Covid-19. Stay safe and be DOPE.

For more information, please reach out to me at avis.williams@selmacityschools.org.

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