President’s Message – September 2013

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

This is one of the fourteen quotes inscribed on the walls of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.  I visited the memorial during the 50th anniversary March on Washington on August 24th.

I came away from that day as inspired as I have ever been.  I was one of a group of UU’s from our congregation who attended the march, and we hitched a ride with the Montclair chapter of the NAACP.

I have never been part of such a large group of people united for a common purpose – dignity, liberty and justice for all.  So simple, yet so fundamental and so powerful.  There were many points of deep inspiration for me that day. One was reading the quote above.  Another was when we were asked to hold hands for prayer. Keep in mind, this is a crowd of 200,000 – everywhere I looked, in that moment, people stopped talking, held hands and bowed their heads in prayer.

I expected to wake up the next day feeling achy and cranky.  Unfortunately for me I was achy, but I also felt energized and filled with purpose – joyful, in fact.  I haven’t lost that feeling.  I have been mired in my own life challenges lately, and that doesn’t do me any good.  Experiencing humanity in one of its finest moments was exactly what I needed to find my equilibrium.  It reminded me that my life isn’t about me, it’s about all of us – our community and beyond.

As I begin my final term as president of this congregation, I have been looking forward, thinking about where my life’s journey will take me next.  I’m not going anywhere and will certainly remain active in our congregation, but I have been thinking about what to do next with the free time I will have.  I have a feeling the answer lies somewhere in my experience of this day.  More to come…

Teresa DeSousa
President, Board of Trustees