Lutes Look Back on a Life-Changing EventMonday, May 16, 2011
We asked Lutes, both current students, faculty, alumni and regents to send us their reflections of how the May 13th "Be the Spark" event, put on by the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, changed their views and their lives. Here are some of their respon
Danyelle Thomas, '11
"The central theme of the message wasn't that either Tutu or Kielburger know how to bring about peace and justice. It wasn't about giving us a "to-do" list, but instead it's all about meeting the needs of our community. The idea of the coming together of people for the collective good seems so simple, but so easily forgotten. I think that we walked away from it with a shared sense of what it means to learn about one another, to support each other, and to grow together in a way that will inevitably result in peace and justice in our community."
Ariel Madden, '13
"My roommate and I both thought that the event was incredibly meaningful - not only were we part of thousands of people uniting against social injustices, but we were able to witness the power of the individual to make global changes. The event- its participants, message, and supporters- made me so proud to be part of this city. I was most moved when I heard how 12-year-old Craig set out to change the world. Such youthful energy juxtaposed with the Archbishop's steadfast wisdom truly showed that it is never too early nor too late to make a big difference."
Mycal Ford, '12
"I think the event was extraordinary! Extraordinary, because it was a moment in which the greater Tacoma community pulled in people from all kinds of backgrounds. The event was what Craig Kielburger described as aminga - in other words, a coming together, where everyone stopped what they were doing and drove miles and miles, got shifts covered, got baby sitters, to come together for one cause.
I had a chance to speak to Tutu for a brief moment. During the King 5 interview, I got to ask him a question. My question was - being in a society where you possessed no institutional power, privilege, and access, how does one come about gaining enough power to instigate change? His response was life changing.
He said something to the effect of, "when I marched with 30,000 people and spoke in front of them I was able to connect with them because while I did not possess institutional power per se, I had authority". So, it was this social authority that enabled him to instigate change.
Tutu said something else that really stuck out to me. He said "each of you are individuals who are one of a kind". In other words, if each of us is one of kind, then that makes us rare. There is value in rarity, therefore I am valuable. This is profoundly-encouraging. And, it has resonated with me.
I know I have a new paradigm by which I now come to see my society as well as my role in it. As I walked backstage at the end of the event, after I finished my last segment, Tutu whispers into my ear, "Boy, your are something special....that voice of yours is going' to take you far." After hearing this, I can say that I truly believe I can affect change. All I know is that I want to work deeply within the country of China to come to understand the issues of race, and eventually work towards bringing about social transformation in our world through servant leadership."
David Johnson, '74
"I was so proud to be a Lute last night! When you talk the talk like this: “to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care – for other persons, for their communities and for the earth" you need to walk the walk. Last night, PLU, and all the sponsors, organizers, and participants, walked the walk of commitment, advocacy, and concern for others. Attaway, Lutes, attaway!
My only concern is that we were often told we need to BECOME the spark when, in fact, thousands of Lutes and others there last night have been the spark in their communities for years and continue to be. Perhaps what we need to do, now, is to spread the sparks to others; that's the challenge. So, next week, when I take our congregation's weekly donation to the food bank, I'm going to weigh it and challenge my fellow congregants to DOUBLE this week's basket and, on Memorial Day weekend, double that!
Soli Deo Gloria!"
Tom Heavey '74
"I didn't see sparks last night. I saw a fire.
Just the people I knew or recognized in the crowd of 15,000 were bright flames which came out of sparks ignited at PLU. There were Lutheran congregations and institutions. Redeemer Lutheran was there and Mountain View. Peace Lutheran – Hilltop Tacoma and the Peace Community Center were striking in their bright white T-shirts. PLU students, staff and faculty were alumni were present.
I was amazed by a large community gathering for PEACE, for reconciliation, for understanding. I was amazed by a large community gathering at which the main speaker preached Christ and Him crucified. I reflected on the days of the "anti-war" movement at PLU in the late 60's and early 70's. Empowered by the Gospel, but held back by the prevailing norms. How little support there was. How antagonized the community was to the call for peace.
But the spark started then. Kindled, not by me, but by some of my classmates, some of my teachers, and with great courage – by the President of PLU. I am heartened that several of those classmates now sit on the Board of Regents, now serve on the Alumni Board and now teach at PLU. The sparks which were ignited by the flint of their compassion battling against the rock of that status-quo, those sparks incubated, smoldered and have now flamed up into a mighty fire."« Go Back