Speech on the Steps 2018: Why we'll be at Keller Town Hall this Monday.

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This Monday, January 15th, the SPECS Movement will host a special event from 7pm to 8pm on the steps of Keller Town Hall to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  All are invited to come, enjoy hot chocolate, hear from city leaders, watch a live recital of Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” participate in a candle-lighting and song, and stand in solidarity with others in the cause of “liberty and justice for all.”

That’s the “what, when, and where.”  Everyone must provide their own “why” for attending.  Here are some of our “whys.”

We will be there to honor the life and legacy of one of our nation’s greatest heroes.

We will be there to support our pastor, Trey Grant, the founder of the SPECS Movement and a tireless worker for healing and reconciliation.

We will be there to thank the Mayor and Chief of Police for supporting and participating in this public display of unity and diversity.

We will be there to meet new friends who also value history, dialogue, and progress.

We will be there for the hot chocolate (our seven-year-old contributed that to the list).

We will be there to do our small part in making Keller and the greater D/FW area a more just, more united, more equitable, and more hopeful place to live, to work, and to study.

Perhaps most importantly, we will be there to hear the words that Dr. King wrote spoken aloud, because as white Christians, the words were directed to us.

Writing correspondence while sitting in a jail cell on frivolous charges, much as the Apostle Paul did millennia earlier, Dr. King addressed religious leaders who criticized the “wisdom” and “timing” of nonviolent, peaceful demonstrations spotlighting and opposing the injustices of segregation and state-supported racial violence.  He chided them, “Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say, ‘Wait.’”

As ones who have never felt such darts—or the related darts of racial bias, or of micro-aggressions—we need to hear these words spoken to us.  Our children need to hear them spoken to them.  Because without these words being spoken and heard, and spoken and heard again, history is forgotten.  Resolve is weakened.  And the future is more susceptible to even worse ignorance, injustice, and violence.

We will be there to hear words directed at people like us, words like “laxity,” “silence,” and “arch-defender of the status quo” strung together.  We will be there to listen, because as much as we want to believe we would never be “those white people” in 1963, if we do not listen to these words and receive, we may be those people, in some way, in the future.

We will be there.  Will you? If so, tell us why.

Dr. Vanessa and Noel Bouché

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SPECS EVENT (February 22nd)

What a great event we had 2 weeks ago at SPECS. Our guest speaker, Sheeza Mohsin did a phenomenal job sharing her perspective on being Muslim American Woman. We engaged in a beautiful yet challenging conversation about implicit bias and our need to see life thru someone else’s SPECS.

Here are a few discussion questions from our conversation.

1.    When you see what seems to be a Pakistani/ Muslim person in a restaurant, at a store or on an airplane, what are some things that go through your mind? Why do you think that is true?

2.    Islamaphobia is a term that is often used to define our fear of Islam, where does this fear come from?

3.    What are some ways we could fight islamaphobia in our communities?

4.    How could we celebrate diversity in our communities?

Join us for our next SPECS event on Wednesday, March 15th as we continue our conversation about race, and our need to see life thru someone else's SPECS. 

Speech on the steps (MLK EVENT) 2017

The Specs Movement hosted a community wide event called, Speech on the Steps to celebrate and commemorate Dr. King's Birthday. This blog was written by one of our Team leadership members, Steve Munsey.

In the days leading up to Martin Luther King Jr Day on January 16th, I spent some serious time reflecting on the life and words of brother Martin, as he was often referred to as.  It was a way to not allow the moment to just be another holiday where I don’t consider the meaning or significance.  What could I learn from his legacy that would make me a better person, a better member of my family, neighborhood, my community?

 While reading one of my all-time favorite quotes by Dr. King, a particular word stood out with particular significance.  Here are his words written in famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”: 

 “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities, and in some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 Brotherhood (sisters and brothers) - this idea that we are all family, we are all connected by our humanity.  It was Dr. King who spoke this truth beautifully again in that same letter saying, “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”  It struck me deeply that he likely penned these words while sitting in a jail cell, if not then shortly after his release.  It was clear that he saw his captors and even those that remained silent and indifferent to his imprisonment as brothers.  The term brother really stood out to me in his words.    

 “Hey brother, how’s it going?”  This is my usual greeting when addressing my male friends and with some exceptions based on the setting and context, I tend to use it when addressing relative strangers.  I don’t typically use the term “sister” but perhaps I will start using it more often!  I will mix it up occasionally with “man” or “dude” but brother is my go to term.

 I don't use the term brother lightly. I want to try and see people as family, regardless of where they come from, what the look like or what languages they speak or don’t speak.  I don’t always get that right but I am committed to trying.  I use the term Brother because it represents Family.  What is unique about a family?

 Think about families you know.  Family members usually have lots in common right?  They have shared memories, often have a shared last name and they usually share some general common interests fostered by being together.  The real beauty however in a family is not what they have in coming but rather the cohesiveness through its diversity.  Different likes and dislikes in food, music, hobbies, etc...  Differences in appearance.  Different skills and abilities.  Differences in opinion and world view (this was probably highlighted at many dinner tables over the holidays).  The beauty comes from the strength it takes to stand together in the midst of glaring differences.

 Think about your family members.  Regretfully some of us may not have strong family bonds or even a family at all.  Think about people that you consider to be like family or what you hope your family would be like.  When someone in your family is sad, you try to comfort them.  When they are happy or successful, you celebrate with them!  When your sister is facing a bully or some form of exploitation, ridicule or belittlement, you step in and stand up for her.  When your brother is grieving some tragedy in his life, you grieve with him and try to comfort him.  You don’t minimize his pain and you try to be aware of the things that could trigger his pain.  After all, this is what you want from the sisters and brothers in your life.

 The truth is, if we are to see the dream of Dr. King realized, this picture of “love and brotherhood shining over our great nation with scintillating beauty”, we have to reclaim and recapture the truth that we are all part of the human family.  “We are caught in this inescapable network of mutuality.”

 If we are to clear “the deep fog of misunderstanding and wash clean our “fear-drenched communities”, we have to recapture the truth that we are all brothers and sisters on this earth.  We have to see and hear each other the way that we want to be seen and heard in our own families.

 As Pastor Trey reminded us as we were gathered together to remember the life and legacy of Dr. King, it starts with each of us.  It starts with the posture of my heart.  Am I willing to see that person, as different than me as I can imagine, as my brother and sister and invite them in to my home and to my table and in to my life as my brother and my sister?  Despite all of the reasons I shouldn’t or couldn’t, despite what my neighborhood may think or say and despite what feels easy and convenient, will I see the “other” as my sister and my brother?

 Dr. King’s dream was so much greater than tolerance, right?  He did not lay down his life to see us merely tolerate one another, rather he gave himself to a dream of love and brotherhood.  This dream that is the hope that we have for peace and unity, is the same dream that Jesus called us to.  He commanded us to love one another the way that He loved us, as family.

 We must close the gap of distance that divides us and come close to each other to see the humanity behind each other’s eyes.  The Dream is that get to know the people in our community that are different than us.  The Dream is that we take the first step to closing the divide and embracing our differences as beautiful and essential to our collective flourishing. 

 An old proverb says:

“When I saw him from afar,

I thought he was a monster.

When he got closer,

I thought he was just an animal.

When he got closer,

I recognized that he was a human.

When we were face to face,

I realized that he was my brother.”

 I want to be the one in this proverb that is coming closer so that people would not see me as an enemy or foe but rather as a friend and moreover, a brother.  I don’t want to wait for people to come close to me so that I can see them as family.  I want to be the brother to you that is moving closer to you so that you see that I am truly your brother.  I want so desperately to see this scintillating beauty shine over our great nation?  But first I want to see it shine over my neighborhood and my city.  I choose to be one of the lights.  What about you?

--Steve Munsey

Learn about our upcoming event HERE

WE would like to introduce you to THE SPECS MOVEMENT

It is no secret that we are living in confusing times in America and around this world. Do you feel unsettled? Are you searching for answers? for understanding? Do you have a desire to hear and understand the perspectives of people on both sides of the spectrum?

Well, you are not alone! We would like to invite you to join The SPECS Movement, so that you can see life through someone else’s SPECS.

The purpose of The SPECS Movement is to find creative ways to engage in healthy conversations about diversity, race, ethnicity and culture in order to promote unity and cultural intelligence not just in Dallas /Fort Worth, but throughout our country and around the world. Imagine the impact that engaging in thought provoking conversations about race can have? Starting in January, we will host an event once per month. You can find out more about these event HERE.

Either way, take time to see life through someone else's SPECS.