Many face a mountain of despair. Some have been laid off. Some are trying to beat a drug addiction. There are many who still need help. But there is hope.
That was the message delivered Monday afternoon by Madison County Circuit Court Judge Rudolph Pyle III (a 1992 Anderson University graduate) during his keynote address at the 32nd annual Citywide Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Pyle, addressing a full house at the Paramount Theatre, spoke about “A Stone of Hope.”
“It’s about treating others as you would want to be treated,” he said.
The analogy Pyle gave reflected a statue of King in the Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial called “A Stone of Hope.” It is carved out of “The Mountain of Despair;” the theme based on some lines from King’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”
“If you’re asking is there something we can be hopeful about, yes, there are some obvious things,” Pyle said.
Progress is being made in social justice, he said, pointing to the fact that five decades after black men were forced to sit in the backs of buses in the South, a black man now sits in the White House.
Pyle’s address explored ways to generate hope, such as donating food or clothes, in Anderson. He also noted the importance of choosing words — and the delivery of them — with care to avoid hurting others.
“Words are like bullets. Once they leave, you can’t call them back,” Pyle said.
He also spoke of education in Anderson and said failure should not be an option; that “a sense of shame” must be given to those who drop out.
“We, as a community, can’t claim to value education when dropout rates are in the double digits,” he said. “It is unacceptable for us to let students drop out. ... Dropping out of school is a form of economic suicide. Might as well take a knife and cut every opportunity out of your life.”
Audience member Audrey Chantel Clark noted that Pyle’s speech was addressed to the children in attendance. She said she appreciated his emphasis on action, as well as his vision for the community.
“We have plenty of dreams, plenty of ideas, but we lack the action,” she said, noting that fear — particularly the fear of failure — could lead to community paralysis.
Paris Vaughn was inspired by Pyle’s address.
“He was short, sweet, and to the point,” she said, then added that she planned to encourage more food donations through her church, Restoration Fellowship Ministries in Anderson.
At the end of his speech, Pyle said he wants Anderson to develop a reputation as a city where residents are taking care of one another and building hope.
— Dani Palmer is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story reposted with permission, with additions to include Anderson University graduation year. Photo credit: John P. Cleary/The Herald Bulletin.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.