Building a Legacy by Gary T. Hartfield

Building a Legacy by Gary T. Hartfield

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the recent tragic events that have taken place in our world community – including the unjustified use of deadly force on black men, the tragic shootings of law enforcement officers, the terror attacks on our schools, military bases and social outlets – I am reminded of Dr. King’s quote.

Evil is not the greatest tragedy of the human experience. The greatest tragedy of the human experience is apathy.

Frankly, it’s easier to sit on the side lines and do nothing than stand up to the unjust treatment – and sometimes outright murder – of innocent children, women, and men. Calling out wrongdoing requires us to make hard decisions. It’s easier to hide behind our jobs, statuses, or paychecks rather than to unite against racism, police brutality, or other social ills.

I, too, am guilty. But as I begin to think about the legacy that I would want to leave for my children, it occurred to me that someday I will have to give account for ALL of my actions and in-actions. And I just don’t think an excuse for not helping my fellow man based on my job, status, or some other apathetic excuse, is going to go over well.

I want to be known as someone who spoke up when others would not, as someone who never took the path of least resistance, as someone who stood up and faced his challenges.

And so, I am compelled to act. I will pray. I will fast. I will become even more deliberate about being an example of the change that I want to see in this world. Finally, I will continue to STAND for what I believe is the best in the human experience.