Vincent Harding

Vincent Harding

Each week I write a weekly column trying to capture and replay a tiny bit of the incredible conversations and efforts taking place behind the scenes at On Being. Sometimes it's a listener's response on our Facebook page or a gorgeous photo on Instagram, but it's often intriguing. If you'd like to receive my column in your email inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

Vincent Gordon Harding’s death is being grieved and his life is being celebrated all over the world. From courageous activists in Palestine to visionary leaders in Detroit, to the young men and women of the Atlanta University Center, there are thousands of people who will never be the same because of his life and his willingness to live it faithfully, earnestly, and lovingly.

Wisdom for how we can move and heal our society in our time as the Civil Rights movement galvanized its own. Lucas Johnson is bringing the art and practice of nonviolence into a new century, for new generations. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons was an original Black Power feminist and a grassroots leader of the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

With the tragic shootings in Connecticut, let us turn to some of our wisest elders for light, hope, and a way forward.

Civil rights veteran Vincent Harding died this week at the age of 82. He had a long lens of wisdom on how social change happens. He believed America is still a developing nation when it comes to creating a multi-religious, multi-racial democracy. Vincent Harding spent recent decades bringing young people into creative contact with elders, civil rights veterans — offering experiences of them, as he said, not as figures in history books but "as living and lively and magnificent." We remember Vincent Harding and how he embodied that legacy and its wisdom for us.

René Marie offers her "love song to America."

There are a few moments from behind the glass that stop us dead in our tracks — times during an interview when a wise voice creates a new opportunity to hear something differently. To challenge a conceit. To envelop the listener in the womb of silent storytelling and place one in a position of listening profundity.

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