Our Fullest Human Potential

by Lillian Mark, Operations Manager, Community Building Division

A woman who came to GLIDE homeless two years ago now finds herself at GLIDE’s 149 Mason Street Apartments and holds a part-time job as a community advocate.  She recently shared her story and closed with “Jan and Cecil, thank you for believing in your dreams, so that my dreams can come true.”

Forty-nine years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stirred the nation with “I Have a Dream,” a deeply held belief and vision that embodied hope and equality for everyone.  As a woman of color, I am a beneficiary of the Civil Rights Movement; Dr. King believed in his dream, so that my dreams can come true.

When I arrived at GLIDE in 2004 as an Emerging Leader Epworth Intern, I wanted to inspire others to dream!  One afternoon at the Janice Mirikitani Family, Youth, and Childcare Center, a 4th grade student drew a portrait of an African American male in a suit and tie.  I asked him, “Who is that?”  He responded, “It’s my cousin.  He is going to be President of the United States someday.”  At 20, I knew that our country had never elected a President who was a person of color, and a part of me wanted to tell him that.  Although I uttered not a word, I believe my silence said much more.

I often recount this incident with regret and shame.  Rita Shimmin, GLIDE’s Co-Executive Director, says “we all bring our histories to this moment.” Our personal stories and experiences teach us what is possible, what is just, and what is important; it defines the parameters within which we must operate in order to remain safe and for the world around us to make sense.  In retrospect, I also shared this child’s dream growing up, but it was never encouraged.  As a result, it set limits on how much I dared to dream.  Through The Zone work at GLIDE, I have learned to support others in “breaking the cycles of poverty” by being aware of my own cycles of poverties; my poverty (my internalization of what I believe to be possible) took away from a child’s opportunity to dream BIG.  The Zone is a leadership training initiative that supports GLIDE staff to develop personal consciousness around our personal histories, values, and beliefs, and to become aware of how they influence our work–the decisions we make, our attitude, and our behaviors.  What The Zone demands of GLIDE staff is no different than what our community is searching for when they come to GLIDE–a place for healing and recovery.  We may call it different things, but in the end, we are simply looking for what Rev. Cecil Williams calls our “fullest human potential.”  And when each of us discovers it, we, together, can dream BIG dreams.

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One comment on “Our Fullest Human Potential
  1. […] more: Our Fullest Human Potential | GLIDE's Blog Tags: and-beliefs, around-our, become-aware, decisions, glide, influence-our, leadership-training, […]

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GLIDE Instagram
Celebrating Rev. Cecil Williams today! Leave some well wishes for the Minister of Liberation in the comments! Better yet, wish him a happy birthday in person at #SundayCelebration this weekend! #unconditionallove #fromthearchives #thisdayinhistory #radical @glidesflegacy @shakasenghor @feliciahorowitz @dnwenig @zendesk @mrdannyglover @goapele @vbozeman @ebay_newsroom @sfchronicle @hoodline “My family had that sense about them, a sense of caring. Seeing people as they are, rather than as we would like for them to be. And so that melded in my soul and in my life. And my pathway and my journey has been to say: I’m gonna be inclusive.” —Rev. Cecil Williams

Today we wish a very happy birthday to Rev. Cecil Williams, GLIDE's beloved Co-Founder and Minister of Liberation. We remain eternally grateful for all that he’s done, and continues to do, for the people of the Tenderloin, San Francisco, and the world through the power and example of unconditional love. #unconditionallove #radical #livinglegend #fromthearchives #thisdayinhistory "Eric understands that recovery takes time& compassion." Learn more about our wonderful Community Safety and Training Team on our blog; link is in our profile! #RealTalk #FacesOfGLIDE photo credit: Alain McLaughlin Did you miss Lillian Mark's inspiring words this past Sunday at Celebration? Don't worry—we're sharing her experiences as Manager of GLIDE's Community Safety and Training Team on our #RealTalk blog in a two-part series this month! Big thanks to Lillian for her loving words and inspiring commitment to GLIDE's mission. Click the link in our profile for the full post. "This role has been the most challenging and soul-saving time for me at GLIDE. It has been an absolute honor to work on this team. We help keep the doors wide open for as many people as possible. We are the extended family for people who need and want it, and they are my family. We are there for the good days and the bad days. The team teaches me a lot. Let me tell you about the other day..." https://glidesf.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/leading-with-heart/

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