HomeAudri's BlogWalking 4 PeaceABOUT AUDRINOWTIME RadioMama Natalie's Corner

Archive Newer | Older

Friday, January 17, 2014

In Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr,, my parents (Arthur and Natalie Williams) & Amelia Boynton Robinson

I too, Wonder as I Wander

By Audri Scott Williams

 From the Trail of Dreams World Peace Walk

As I awakened this morning in Morocco, the sounds of vendors passing through the alley chanting their presence and their products; and, children laughing - little ones crying - as they head to school, I am filled with the potential of this day. I am flirting with the aroma from the corner bakery which has been taunting me since 4:00 a.m. (I am 8 days into a 21 day fast). The sun showering the room with light is announcing the beginning of a new day. It is intoxicating.

I am engulfed in a wave of gentle, peaceful and tearful acknowledgement of all the places and people we have met along this journey and those Trail Angels who continue to love and support us. I am in awe of the Grace that has been granted to us as we have traveled by faith from our very first (take a deep breath) step in Atlanta, GA, to our current location in Marrakesh, Morocco.  As my new found family here would say, “Humd Allah (All praises to Allah!”

Sitting here contemplating my “current place,” like Langston Hughes, I too, “Wonder as I Wander.”  From this vantage point I have begun to ponder the significance of this walk…as a woman, as an African American woman born just in time to be profoundly impacted by the Civil Rights movement and the role of my family in Fayetteville, NC long before it was “popular” to be identified with the movement.

I was a young child when the world (not just America) was ALIVE with causes and struggles for justice and equality. My elders and peers were rapt up in a mighty cause to put an end to oppression and segregation—struggling to rid America once and for all of the laws upholding the practice of  “separate but equal”. Inspired by the sit-ins, marches and amazing acts of courage to withstand white oppression by “Negroes” from coast to coast: women were burning their bras and demanding equality; the American Indian Movement was birthed and put new energy into standing up and demanding self-determination among Native Americans and international recognition of their treaty rights; Kwame Nkrumah was leading African countries into independence as Ghana’s first elected Prime Minister, over thirty other African countries would soon follow; Nelson Mandela was imprisoned; the Caribbean, Asia and India were all standing up to colonial governments and demanding their independence; poetry and music rang out with We Shall Over Come, Give Peace A Chance, What’s Going On, Say it Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud, Inner City Blues… amid shouts of I Have A Dream, Black Power, Red Power, Participatory Democracy, Women’s Power, Chicano Power, … This period (1960’s - 1970’s) was spontaneous, emotional, passionate, ALIVE! Change was in the air.

As a child whose parents met the call for action head on, perhaps my destiny, unbeknownst to me, was already being shaped, molded and set for the day when “a dream” would send me around the world to engage, assess, and be reborn into the truth that comes from a journey to places and people often confined to pages in a book. I became the dreamer who stands in the midst of the dreams, intoxicated by its possibilities, and seizes the moment to set a course for years to come. Harriet Tubman dreamed the dream that reached through time and pulled Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. forward and he had the Dream that pulled me forward to stand on this world stage and declare that we can change the world one step at a time. Dr. King made it emphatically clear that “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one, directly affects all indirectly”.

And, I firmly hold that freedom is for every boy and girl, every woman and man and only through determination, hard work and embracing the diversity of humanity can we begin to end, once and for all, colonialism, racism, sexism, oppression, violence, starvation, imprisonment, poverty, warehousing of humanity, war…” This dream undoubtedly set in motion the rise of United States Senator Barack Obama to become the presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee in the National 2008 General Election!

Harriet Tubman once said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Her words echo in my head often. In fact, I carry a walking stick that was given to me on my first walk in 2000, the Trail of Dreams Ancestral Journey, and on it my dear friend, Jason, who carved it for me, carved out the face of Harriet Tubman, intentional or not, I do not know. But when I pulled that walking stick, now known the world over as Mama Harriet, out of the postal wrapping, my hands began to shake. There was transference of energy, beyond my understanding. And, in that moment, I knew my life was changed forever. Had I known the fullness of what was to come over the next decade maybe I would have run the other way — fast! Why? Because, the dream once embraced demands one’s soul. And calls out for us, as W.E.B. Du Bois said, “…to be ready at any moment to give up what you are, for what you might become. ...” It is Grace that has the pieces of a dream given out bit by bit, in digestible doses, which at first appear to be random disconnected acts. It is only in hindsight that the callings become puzzle pieces that fit together to reveal a greater truth.

Following a dreamer’s path bears a hefty toll. Harriet Tubman had a way of saying, “Lord, I'm going to hold steady on to You and You've got to see me through.” I have found on this journey that there are times when all I have to hold on to is the dream, because I cannot see the way, nothing is indicating to me what I should do, nor how. I have come to know that at the core of dreamer’s path is FAITH and it has to be strong enough to lead you through the FEAR, all of the “false evidence appearing real” that will engulf the dreamer at any moment and often by those persons and situations you least expect. “Faith is the first factor in a life devoted to service. Without it, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.” Mary McLeod Bethune.

Born in 1955, I am the Dream of all my ancestors, which means I am also the means to the fulfillment of their dreams. So I, Wonder as I Wander, this great planet filled with diversity beyond description, a beautiful garden, a symphony, the blues, bee-bop and jazz. It is hip hop and salsa too. It is the ancient chants and drumming, whirling dervishes and break dancing. It is mindfulness. And it deserves our best.

So what of the dreamer who embraces the Dreamer’s path? Be mindful of where you place your feet -- with each step you are lighting a path for others to follow. In an article, inspired by my son, Following a Dreamer’s Path, I wrote, “No apologies, no what ifs, -- embrace the good in your choices and learn from the challenges. Victory is in a life well lived. Defeat is the enduring death that comes from the living that died to soon to their dreams and passions.”

And when misunderstood, condemned, laughed at, belittled, remember the words of Frederick Douglass, “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”

On this early morning, with vendors calling out through the alley, the tantalizing aroma of fresh baked bread, and children’s voices, I hold fast to the dream of the Trail of Dreams World Peace Walk. And as I bring this writing to a close, confirm in me that the clarion call of my life, echoed in the words of Nelson Mandela in a speech at the opening of the South African parliament in Cape Town on May 25, 1994, which I send out to all nations:

"Our single most important challenge is therefore to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual. We must construct that people-centered society of freedom in such a manner that it guarantees the political liberties and the human rights of all our citizens." Nelson Mandela


Two landmark events are forcing us to look at racism in America: the June 27, 2013, U. S. Supreme Court decision striking down a key portion of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965; and July 13, 2013, the not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin. What is the power that is shaping our society? Is it the mask of racism? If it is, whose responsibility is it to shift the power structure to make this country indivisible with liberty and justice for all? All of us -- together.

If our stories are to lead us to a transcendent state, then we must be willing to engage in dialogue and nonviolent direct action to affect a systemic shift that replaces racism with truth, justice and equality -- once and for all.

Malcolm X - “Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or who says it.”

Maya Angelou – “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. – “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”;  

Audri Scott Williams – “We can sit and critize or we can engage and change the world."

Peace Pilgrim - “One little person giving all of her time to peace, makes news. Many people giving some of their time, can make history.”

Audri Scott Williams
Footprints Around the World 4 Peace – Trail of Dreams World Peace Walk – 13 Moon Walk4 Peace-Respect Mother Earth Walk
Interim Coordinator, Global Indigenous Initiative, United Religions Initiative


12:32 pm est          Comments

Archive Newer | Older