Last night I saw a play by poet and playwright Daniel Berrigan – The Trial of the Catonsville Nine. It is the story of a group of committed citizens, the men and women next door, just like “you and me” who took a courageous stand, shocked the nation and sparked a powerful movement for social change. By burning draft records from the Catonsville, Maryland, draft board office they galvanized a national protest movement. While condemned as criminals in a court of law, they were hailed as patriots in the streets during one of Americas most turbulent eras – 1968 and the Vietnam War. What they did had an impact and added fuel to the fires of change.
The incident was public and visible – shocking – done by regular folks – and it resonated deeply with the times.
As leaders we can draw many lessons from this…
– Personally – what do we deeply believe, down to our very core – what do we stand for – what risk will we take, for the sake of what – what stand will we take, no matter what?
– With respect to leading others – what’s under the surface for them – how does that resonate with what drives me – how do I stoke the fire and engage them – how can we move into action?
– Interestingly, when we’re connected to our inner convictions and compass and able to express it, others are much more likely to travel with us toward that worthy destination, out there in the fog of the unknown future.