Sometimes we get so busy with the everyday routine of our lives we forget to stop and see what’s going on around us. We are often so plugged in and tuned that we miss opportunities to actually interact real up close and in person with actual people (gasp)! We see what people are doing through their updates on Facebook and Instagram and we think we actually know what is going on in their lives, and so maybe instead of picking up the phone and saying hey, how are you or asking what someone has been up to we like their status and just keep it moving. But social media is a double-edged sword, on the flip-side, it allows us to stay connected and hear about what’s going with friends and colleagues. So this weekend was one of those times when I was glad I have twitter and Instagram popping across my newsfeed on my phone because it alerted me to an important celebration that was happening this weekend in Atlanta.
Reverend Doctor C.T. Vivian is a distinguished author, scholar and organizer who was pivotal in the Civil Rights Movement. A close, personal friend of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Vivian participated in Freedom Rides and sit ins across the country and then went on to found numerous civil rights organizations. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Rev. Vivian while I was working at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. So when I saw on my twitter feed that he was being honored with a celebratory send off at Atlanta City Hall in recognition of his being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Later this fall by President Barack Obama, I knew I had to attend.
There was a great turnout as people stood and gave tribute to the impact that Rev. Vivian has had on them and the world at large and I was honored to be in attendance. There were many familiar faces in the room whom I had not seen in person in quite some time and it was great to re-connect and share an actual handshake or hug with many of them.
All too often we do not have an opportunity to recognize or thank our heroes role models while they are still present. But these young men from the CT Vivian Leadership opportunity stood and publicly acknowledged the impact that Reverend Vivian has had on them.
In all of my interactions with Rev. Vivian he has always had such a positive aura and kind spirit around him. He always greeted me warmly “hey sis” and then just got to talking. As other members of the Civil Rights Movement, and the children of members of the movement stood and spoke of him it was apparent that his positive spirit has affected everyone.
Artist Gilbert Young presented a beautiful image of Rev. Vivian and Elizabeth Omilami also presented a photograph of Rev. Vivian and a few other members of the movement.
I am so glad that I saw Doug Shipman’s post on Twitter alerting me to this amazing tribute. When Rev. Vivian heads to Washington DC in November to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom he will join the ranks of many incredible luminaries from our society. I am just glad to have been able to meet him and say well done!
I enjoyed catching up “real-time” and in person with many wonderful people. Here are a few more images from the event and if you haven’t yet please subscribe to my blog and follow me on Facebook so we can stay “connected”.