When President George H.W. Bush was in office in 1990, and after Nelson Mandela was released from prison, as a young civil rights lawyer living in Chicago reflecting on the need for more light, I wrote a poem. It was a privilege to share this poem last night at the opening plenary session of Service Unites 2018. Many of you have requested a copy of this poem, “How I Read a Poem Like This,” and we are pleased to share it with you, our community of changemakers – points of light in communities around the world, who are helping to ignite a civic culture. Thank you.
In celebration of the diversity of ways in which women lead a civic life, we brought together three nonprofit founders from around the world to share their experiences, talk about their work as part of the Points of Light Network, and offer advice to emerging women leaders who will continue to carry forward our collective mission.
Black History Month offers us a time to reflect on the many contributions African-Americans have made to this country and the world. Growing up as the children of hard-working parents in a melting pot community, the school my brother and I went to paused on a variety of special commemorative days to celebrate the rich diversity of all of our cultures and ethnicities. These early experiences and lessons from school have left an indelible imprint on my life, and what I recognize today is that these non-negotiable family values are distinctly connected to the work and service of many historical figures in black history whom we celebrate.
As someone whose early career was as a civil rights attorney and who now leads a global organization focused on volunteering and service, spending the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in Atlanta is a full circle experience. In the span of five days, we joined this community to honor civil rights leaders; break bread together while discussing economic justice; roll up our sleeves to offer love and care to a west Atlanta neighborhood; and host just more than 50 Fortune 500 companies focused on integrating social purpose with business strategy.