MLK Festival birthdays and a dose of inspiration

Jan 28 2013

By Nashielly Victoria

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year, I had the privilege of sharing my birthday with the nation’s celebration of Dr. King’s birthday. For all, it is a holiday. For some, it is a day of reflection on the enormous strides towards freedom that Dr. King helped lead. For others, it is a day of service, to put into action the notion that we must continue to make personal sacrifices in the name of human progress. For most, it is a celebratory day indeed. For me, it was all of these, but mostly, it was inspirational.

Before I chowed down on some delicious birthday ceviche and enjoyed a lovely dinner with my favorite company (my husband), I had the honor of representing CASA of Travis County at this year’s Austin MLK Festival. Vendors and other organizations set-up shop at the Huston-Tillotson (HT) campus to welcome the several hundreds of marchers as people from all across Austin gathered to march from the UT Campus to the Capitol, and finally to the HT Campus. It was an unusually warm day and energies were high. The live music playing on the stage behind us was wonderful and I couldn’t help myself from dancing from time to time (I’m still working on my wobble). Speaking to so many people about CASA - what it is that we do and our need for more volunteers - was thrilling. Although this was exciting, watching the 2 volunteers that joined me that day was the most inspirational part of the day.

John Falvey, Nashielly Victoria, Jimmy Ward - Austin MLK Festival, CASA, Volunteer
John Falvey, Nashielly Victoria and Jimmy Ward at Austin's MLK Day Festival

On top of already being amazing CASA volunteers, John Falvey and Jimmy Ward took hours out of their day – on a holiday – to help recruit more volunteers. John has been a volunteer for several years with multiple cases and Jimmy recently joined the CASA community when he moved to town not long ago. Both of them spoke so passionately about CASA and our mission with everyone they met. I was blown away. Seeing them go so above and beyond was great, and I have no doubt that they helped recruit new volunteers that day. It was a wonderful sight to see as they engaged so many people passing by our table.

So thank you John and Jimmy for one of the best birthday gifts I could ask for. You helped remind me of that beautiful human spirit that’s in all of us. You inspired me that day when I saw first-hand the “tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”