Make It Happen

How two icons realized their mission–and their dream

walking in their shoes. These days I’m busy trying to understand why people react the way they do, or behave, or think the way they think. Rather than judging them based on my own perspective, I’m trying to understand their perspective. Maybe it’s because of the role I have to play here at the Legal Defense Fund.

I remember what Nathaniel Jones told me (he’s on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and used to be general counsel to the NAACP) when I was thinking about it. He said, “Elaine, it’s not a job. It’s a calling. There’s not anything for you to decide. You have to do this.” And then I had a practical consideration: If I said no, I would have had to leave.

You can’t stay at a place where you’re unwilling to take on the burdens of helping the organization do what it must do–at least that’s what I believe.

From Take a Lesson: Today’s Black Achievers on How They Made It & What They Learned Along the Way, by Caroline V. Clarke. Copyright © 2001. Published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons Inc. All rights reserved.

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