“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King
To the Unconquered —
Over the past two weeks, I have written (and rewritten) a couple of heartfelt exposés on the unrest in America. However, after consultation with my staff, I have decided to delay one of the more personal articles for another day. What I will say, is that my grandfather, as an Irish immigrant, shortly after the turn of the century, also faced intense discrimination at the time of his arrival at America’s doorstep, and had to overcome this adversity to raise 12 children. Of course, in no way, was it the same as what we’re dealing with in America today, but to my family, my Grandfather….may have been the original Unconquered.
My father, quietly observing his father as the 7th child in that family of 12, saw his Dad find a path to light and love and then paid it forward and showed me how to shine light in the darkness and love to counter the hate. Every day, I try to honor their memoir, by making Invictus a company every Spartan can be proud of and within which the Unconquered can shine their light for others to see as well.
We all know that these last few months, in particular, have challenged this Nation. Like many of you, we began this year with hope and excitement for what the New Year would bring. We felt reassured by the routines of our daily lives, our jobs, our friends, and our families. However, we quickly learned that 2020 would call on us all to be resilient in the face of adversity, in ways we could never have imagined. We truly had (and have) to be “The Unconquered,” by helping to lead others out of the darkness and into the light…and countering hatred with love.
Of course, the first critical blow from 2020 was the emergence of the Coronavirus pandemic; jolting the world and forcing us to change our daily lives almost overnight. Individual concerns about the illness, in addition to its impact on our friends and family, left many feeling helpless. The toll of uncertainty has weighed heavily on every Spartan family member. Yet, I have noticed that you have met these challenges with fortitude and resolve… and I am so very proud of you.
Compounding the pandemic were the violent deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, which hammered our emotions even further, making it impossible for us to continue to ignore racially-motived violence. Of course, more recently, the horrific deaths of Rayshard Brooks and George Floyd, have exponentially prompted further pain and anger across the country, as well as the world. As a result, many of us have had to appropriately reflect and have difficult conversations with family, friends, and acquaintances. Why…because change is a must !
Absolutely, these are difficult times, but none of us should feel like we are alone. Systemic racism is ever-present and is a problem for every American. Acknowledging that, is not to say we experience it in equal measure, because we do not. That said, now is the time for us to be there for one another and to support each other. It is paramount that we treat each other with kindness, compassion, empathy, humility, decency, patience, and respect. We need to value each other as wonderful human beings; equal in our creation, equal in our worth, and equal in our liberties. Together, united, we need to drive out the darkness with light and drive out hate with love!
Each of us has an obligation to consider the difficulties others face and how it might differ from our own. This is especially true in times like these. I would like to remind every Spartan that the phrase “with liberty and justice for all” in the Pledge of Allegiance means that justice should be equal and fair to all. Invictus Spartans, I am here if you need me and your Invictus Family is here. I believe we are all here to share the load, to make it lighter, to help each other …to help make the world a better place.
Let me end by asking you simply to take care of yourselves, and each other. We need each other, every day, to help find the path of light to a united future. You are an incredible bunch of professionals from diverse walks of life, each with your own story to tell. Your journey to Invictus, your unique experiences, and your individual character all help to make us great. Remember – United we stand….Divided we fall!
As MLK guides us, keep shining the light and love…others will follow!
God bless and keep you healthy, happy, and safe…and as always…