Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

My friend Pamela Brown, the writer behind the words at Emission Control, wrote this on her Facebook wall yesterday on the occasion of Martin Luther King’s birthday.

My friend Pamela Brown, the writer behind the words at Emission Control, wrote this on her Facebook wall yesterday on the occasion of Martin Luther King’s birthday.

I liked it and, with her kind permission, I’m reprinting it here:


Today is also my father’s birthday…he is 87… I asked him what he thought, having lived almost twice as long as MLK… He said, “I never thought we would make it this far…we were really the bottom of the bottom…they wanted to wipe us out, but they couldn’t…”

I feel that my father is also an #americanrevolutionary – he fought his whole life for the education of so-called under privileged children with so-called learning disabilities…underlying his tireless efforts was the belief that no matter where any child started, they could rise as a part of African-American progress. For him, his work was political action.

He never made a lot of money like we would think of today, but he always viewed himself as wealthy… Each day he left on his mission before 7am, and *after* work didn’t exist… When he was forced into retirement, he returned as a volunteer… #americanrevolutionary

At some point, you travel down a path far enough that it stops being a trip and starts to become “a journey”.

I’d like to update that famous Lao-Tzu “A Journey of a Thousand Miles” saying for the modern age of air travel to read: “A Journey of 23,244 Miles Begins With a Single Mouse Click.”

Now you might be saying to yourself “23,244 miles seems like a very large number — and also a suspiciously specific figure for Justin to pick.1

23,244 miles is almost the full distance around the Earth at the Equator.

It is also, as close as I can figure it, the exact distance of a round-trip flight from New York City through Frankfurt, Singapore, Bangkok that will return me to Luang Prabang, Laos in two weeks time.

Where The Journey Begins

Seven months ago, my wife and I arrived in Luang Prabang while on our honeymoon. We walked into a community library one afternoon and met kids who wanted to practice their English with us. We met Carol Kresge who ran the library. We talked with Justin Spelman, who was pitching in and helping around the Library while starting up his own science education organization.

It was only a few hours of our time, but something about that library and those people stuck to us. Some places are like that — leaving a residue on your thoughts as you continue your travels.

We kept in touch with Carol and Justin from the moment we left. We read more about each of their groups, wondering if we could help them out in any way.

And now I’m returning to Laos to do just that.
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  1. If you like to use metric distances when you talk to yourself, feel free to substitute “37,407 kilometers” []