Strength to Lead – Part II

By Inés Velásquez-McBryde

January 19, 2020

“In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.’”

Luke 10:30-31 (NIV)


On this honorable weekend where we remember MLK, Jr., I would love to also recognize the role of women in the fight for civil rights. History is filled with powerful women who have birthed and labored to get us to where we are today. The civil rights movement especially would not be the same without them. They toiled and watered the soil so the seeds of the movement would bear fruit. These women did not walk by injustice nor did they choose to “pass by on the other side.”

We stand on the shoulders of the mothers who birthed us, the grandmothers who raised us and the aunts who encouraged us.

We stand on the shoulders of Dolores Huerta who labored for farmworkers’ rights and convinced us that SI SE PUEDE.

We stand on the shoulders of Rosa Parks and her committed and defiant activism.

We stand on the shoulders of Daisy Bates who braved mobs and death threats to integrate the Little Rock Nine into Central High.

We stand on the shoulders of Jo Ann Robinson who was the architect of the Montgomery Bus Boycott along with other women organizers.

We stand on the shoulders of Diane Nash who ended up directing the Freedom Rides.

We stand on the shoulders of the brilliant Coretta Scott King who was the spine of the movement.

We honor the unseen faces, the unsung heroes, the unwritten names, the hard-working hands and the unheard voices of others, freedom daughters who labored for over the last 50 years and more… (For more, see Lynne Olson,  Freedom’s Daughter: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970 (2002).

We stand on their shoulders.

Something to Think About:

What has kept you from engaging as a leader in the work of justice in your neighborhood or nation?

What people group do you have most affinity with? Why or why not?

How does fear play a role in your decisions about injustice in your everyday life and your interactions on social media?

Something to Do:

Get honest about apathy.

Get honest about engaging.

As a leader in your workplace, lead with dignity and integrity.

Cultivate compassion. Do not stand idly by.


God of justice, teach us to bear your loving justice. Show us our path and convict us about where we have walked away from the hurting, be it inside or outside and into our communities. We confess our fears that block our ability to lead and to love with your strength. Help us, oh Holy Spirit, to lead a life of justice, love and mercy. When our well runs dry, we come to the rivers of your life that grants life upon life. Grant us this grace. Amen.

Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
Best of Daily Reflections: Parable of the Good Samaritan

Inés Velásquez-McBryde

Chaplain at Fuller Theological Seminary & Pastor, Preacher, Speaker

Inés is an ordained pastor, preacher, reconciler, writer, and speaker. We are pleased to feature Inés as a regular Life for Leaders writer. On June 15, 2019, Inés received her Master of Divinity degree from the School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary where she now serves as...

More on Inés

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Learn Learn Learn Learn

the Life for Leaders newsletter

Learn Learn Learn Learn