The theme of today’s celebration is Dr. Martin Luther King’s quote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.” As we reflect on that quote, we must ask ourselves how we can be the light to drive out the darkness and fulfill the vision of Dr. King.

Thank you to the organizers of today’s celebration. A special thank you to Miss Kecia Adams, who put this incredible event together. I’m Dr.Kim Moore, and it is my privilege to speak today.

Now, I could take our time today and restate Dr. King’s vision and reflect on his life and accomplishments, but I believe that is not what Dr. King would want us to do. While I think Dr. King would be flattered by our admiration, he would prefer we spend our time taking action to fulfill his dream.

As a retired military officer, educator, and leadership consultant, I am prone to action. I believe the old expression “if you give a man a fish he will eat for the day, if you teach him to fish, he will feed himself.”

So over the next few minutes, I want to give you a road map to become the change Dr. King would want to see. Why? Because if we are to achieve Dr. King’s dream and the vision of America, it is up to us.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

We cannot sit back and wait for someone else to be the change. So, like Queen Ester from the bible, we are here today for such a time as this.

Let me ask you, how can we be the change we want to see? How can we have an impact as an agent of change? Well, change is not easy, and it takes a lot of work. But, I believe we can be the change agents like our forefathers, including Dr. King.

You may be wondering, “how do I become a change agent?” Or you may be thinking, “I don’t know how to effect change.” Well, let me share a protocol I have used over the years. So, what is the protocol? It is Plan, Act, Check, or PAC.

Now, this protocol can be implemented by anyone, young and old. In fact, we use this protocol every day. For example, you had a plan this morning, and part of the plan was to attend this event. So, you are acting on your plan by attending the event. Then, after the event, you will check to determine if the event met your expectations. Finally, you will participate in next year’s celebration because you had such a wonderful experience today.

Let me give you another example of Plan, Act, Check, The Montgomery Bus Boycott. While most people know about Rosa Parks and the boycott, they don’t realize it lasted 13 months. The boycott leaders, including Dr. King, had a plan that included many different components, including getting people to work without using the bus system. The focus of the boycott was to use the financial loss experienced by the city to change the segregation law. While it did not end segregation, it was a critical step forward.

Let’s walk through each step of the protocol so you can begin to be the change you want to see.

The first step in the protocol is “Plan.” To start your plan, ask yourself, what is my purpose or passion? You can use the following three questions from Dr. John C. Maxwell to help you determine your passion.

  • What do you cry about?
  • What do you sing about?
  • What do you dream about?

Your passion gives you energy. It will inspire you to want more, do more, and be more.

What are you passionate about, and who can you take action with?

For me, it’s partnering with like-minded individuals to grow leaders. My philosophy is simple: All people are leaders—from the stay-at-home mom raising children to the store clerk representing a franchise, to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The only question is this: How effective are they?

So, as a leadership consultant, I equip aspiring leaders to lead with confidence, emerging leaders to expand their influence, and accomplished leaders to achieve significance!

But why I am so passionate about leadership. Because leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to achieve a common goal.

What is your purpose or passion? What cause do you care about? Maybe it’s education, voting rights, affordable housing, substance abuse, or social justice. Your passion doesn’t have to be some grand idea; it can be as simple as bringing your neighbors together to create change in your community.

The goal is to take action to effect change. Now you may be wondering how I can make a difference? You may think, “I don’t have political connections or a lot of money, and I’m not famous.” Well, when Dr. King began his journey, he was just like you.

As a result of the impact of the bus boycott, Dr. King became a prominent civil rights leader. When the boycott started, he wasn’t famous or rich, and he didn’t have political connections. But he did have a passion. He was committed to changing his world.

So start where you are! You don’t have to be famous, hold political office, or be rich. Start where you are! You have a voice, and you have influence. You can be the light!

After you decide what you want to focus on, it is essential to research your cause to gather facts and data. When conducting your research, be sure to look at both sides of the issue.

Another great way to gather information is by conducting listening tours, which will help you develop a deeper understanding of the issue. Remember, your listening tour is not the time to challenge others’ positions. Instead, the listening tour is to gather information.

Once you have information, you can develop your plan. For example, if you are concerned about affordable housing in your community, your plan may include the following steps:

  1. Review the county housing website
  2. Attend a County Commission meeting
  3. Meet with your local county commissioner
  4. Meet with your local legislator

As a part of your plan, you must also consider the impact of your actions on others. Also, don’t forget to include a communication component to leverage social media.

The key is to develop a comprehensive plan. The next step is to act.

You start acting by implementing your plan. When you implement your plan, remember to stay focused on your goal. Why? Because you will face opposition. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and to be honest, most people don’t want things to change.

Therefore, you must have clarity and commitment to your goal. Of course, having a detailed plan will help you. Remember the purpose of your actions is to effect change, not to promote yourself. Don’t let the message be overshadowed by the messenger. As the leader, everyone looks at you, so make sure your actions don’t distract from your mission.

Because many people don’t want to change, we look for reasons not to change. Therefore, if your behavior becomes the focus, your message will get lost. During the boycott, the message was consistent, and the leaders’ actions reinforced the message.

Now, you’re implementing your plan, so I guess you are wondering what the “check” part of the protocol is? Well, you have a plan, and you are implementing your plan. But your plan must also be flexible, so you make adjustments as necessary.

Even the best plans are never perfect. Why? Because you cannot control everything. Therefore, you must constantly check and make adjustments—this is why it is critical to understand your purpose. While your goal will not change, you may have to make adjustments on how you will achieve it. Your purpose may also expand as you experience success.

As we remember and celebrate Dr. King, let us honor him by continuing his dream. In his “I have a dream” speech, Dr. King gave each of us a call to action. So today, I have given you a simple protocol, Plan, Act, Check, or PAC, to help you honor Dr. King’s call to action.

“With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Together we can accomplish great things.

“Nothing of significance was ever achieved by an individual acting alone.”

Dr. John C. Maxwell

Each of us has a role in being the change we want to see.

As you reflect on this day, ask yourself, how can you be the change the world needs? To help you understand why you need to be the change the world needs, I will leave you with Dr. King’s words:

“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men, and white men, Jews, and Gentiles, Protestants, and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I close, I want to challenge you to answer the following question; How can you be the light to drive out darkness today?


Want to learn researched-based leadership principles and best practices every week? Click HERE to listen to The MOORE Leadership Moment podcast.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Kim, Your Leadership Guide. I equip aspiring leaders to lead with confidence, emerging leaders to expand their influence, and accomplished leaders to achieve significance!