Yesterday, it was my pleasure to be present as Michael McCray, Esq., co-chair of the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW), accepted the Arkansas Peace & Justice Award. Mike, a native of Arkansas, has never forgotten his roots, and has tirelessly campaigned for strong civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights' enforcements both at the national as well as global level. He has remained active in Arkansas.
Michael gave a stirring speech about what it means to stand for justice in our society. With his permission, I am reprinting them here, as they were some of the most stirring words I've heard since Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream:
Be the Rock!!!
By Michael R. McCray, Esq.
- A great man, Reverend Martin Luther King once said "the arch of history bends towards justice." But one thing I've discovered is it won't bend by itself. My life story in four sentences is – I discovered corruption in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and I stood up. I uncovered wrongdoing in the U.S. Justice Department, and I stood up. I witnessed collusion in Federal Courts, and I stood up. I saw wrongdoing and I stood up. And I have dedicated my career to issue advocacy related to my personal experiences. Federal workplace, law enforcement and judicial reform
- What I learned through this experience is best summed up by the biblical story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17). The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. The two armies faced each other, camped for battle on opposite sides of a steep valley. A Philistine giant measuring over nine feet tall and wearing full armor, came out each day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelites to fight. His name was Goliath. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army were terrified of Goliath.
- One day David, the youngest son of Jesse, was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers. While there, David heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance and he saw the great fear stirred within the men of Israel. David responded, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of God?"
- And so David volunteered to fight Goliath. It took some persuasion, but King Saul finally agreed to let David fight against the giant. Dressed in his simple tunic, carrying his shepherd's staff, sling shot and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath. The giant cursed at him, hurling threats and insults.
- David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied ... today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air ... and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel ... it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands."
- As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath's head. Finding a hole in the armor, the stone sank into the giant's forehead and he fell face down on the ground. David then took Goliath's sword, killed him and then cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. So the Israelites pursued, chasing and killing them and plundering their camp.
- When I was young, fresh out of law school, and more than a bit naïve; I thought the story meant that our justice system is fair and if you did the right thing, that God would guide the stone and smite Goliath for you … so I threw myself on the mercy of the court because I had faith in God and our legal system.
- After a rude awaking, I soon learned otherwise, and decided to re-read the scripter. And I realized that God guided the stone to hit its mark, but that David actually slew Goliath with the sword. And so I thought, that if I trust in God, he will present me with an opportunity for victory, but that I must be prepared to take advantage of the right opportunity. I no longer trusted the system, but I relied on lawyers and judges.
- After further setbacks, I committed myself to helping other victims and whistleblowers. I read Rick Warren best seller "A Purpose Driven Life" and I revaluated the scriptures. I realized that God is using me, and my life experiences, to help others. It's not about me, its about God and helping my fellow man. I'm not David … I'm the rock. My life, and my experiences, will provide God with the opportunity to bless others. We the People are David, the system is Goliath – I am just the rock. God is in control.
- The funny thing is; I discovered that it is only through helping others that I can actually save myself. And so I became committed to human rights advocacy, and the social and economic justice movement. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi … "Be the change you desire to see in the world".
- Or more simply stated … "Be the rock!". Grassroots advocates fight the system from the bottom to the top; while whistleblower's fight the system from the inside out. Together, these movements, including the Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology form the hands which bend history into justice. I thank you for this award on behalf of my friends, family and the advocacy movements which have supported me.