Martin Luther King, Jr. Day A Reminder Of Proactive, Non-Violent Civic Action

A Legislative Column from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney (R, C, I - New Hartford)
January 13, 2011
As a college student, I had the opportunity to study the non-violent resistance movement espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. modeled after the teachings of Gandhi. The lessons I learned from studying Dr. King have made a lasting impression on me and have inspired me in all aspects of my life.

In today’s world of new technology and social media, it is easy for many of us to immediately share our thoughts, opinions and concerns; however, in the spirit of Dr. King, I would like to encourage residents to consider his famous words asking, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”

Dr. King also stated, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” These words are especially poignant to me as we try to recover from the economic recession. I have no doubt these words will continue to assure me during the very tough state budget negotiations we have ahead, but here at home these words also are a reminder of the hardships faced, in this economy, by our friends, neighbors and even the people in the community we do not yet know.

This is why I am encouraging residents to give a few moments of their time this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, this month or even this year. There are many ways to give back. You can volunteer a few hours of your time at a favorite organization or community group. You can mentor a colleague, coach a youth team or chaperone a school project. Another way to serve is by living in the spirit of Dr. King and encouraging others to make positive changes.

Although my offices have only been open for a couple weeks, many residents, groups and organizations already have come in to meet with me and my staff to share their concerns and ideas for how we can improve the community around us and the lives of our neighbors.

As your new representative, I encourage each and every resident to call, e-mail, or write to me with their thoughts – or to schedule an appointment in either my temporary office in Sylvan Beach or my legislative office in Albany. I hope that if residents are in the neighborhood, visiting Albany, or even if they run into me at the grocery store, they will take a moment to share their ideas or ask me a question.

I am here to help, and I hope this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day that the legacy of this great man inspires you as I continue to be inspired. I am honored to serve you and hope you will join me in improving the quality of life for all of us in Oswego and Oneida counties.