Photos, Fierce Urgency of Now – An Evening with Sarah McBride and Rep Joe Kennedy, Washington, DC USA

2018.03.20 Sarah McBride and Rep Joe Kennedy, Politics and Prose, Washington, DC USA 4116
2018.03.20 Sarah McBride and Rep Joe Kennedy, Politics and Prose, Washington, DC USA 4116 (View on

I had the wonderful opportunity to see Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride) and Representative Joe Kennedy (@RepJoeKennedy) speak on the occasion of the publication of her memoir in Washington, DC.

Among the many resonant statements made by Sarah was a reference to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Fierce Urgency of Now,” in the context of being told to wait to be able to live as a transgender person, authentically and freely participating in society.

I will never know what it’s like to live as a transgender person, or to live as a woman. I do understand the fierce urgency of now. I remember being told, in my past, by a fellow medical professional, that I would need to be patient and accept discrimination based on my identity. I didn’t accept the statement then (and made him aware of such 🙂 ) and now I understand better than ever how futile such a sentiment is.

Fierce Urgency of Now

In my curiosity, I looked up the origin of the MLK quote, and it comes from MLK, Riverside Church speech, April 4, 1967, exactly a year before his assassination. You can listen to him orate it here:

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.”

Transgender Equality Taskforce

I didn’t realize there was a Task Force: House LGBT Caucus Announces Re-Launch of Transgender Equality Task Force, Names Kennedy Chair | LGBT Equality Caucus (@LGBTEqCaucus) that Rep. Kennedy is the chair of.

King’s powerful speech is about Vietnam. And it feels applicable to the inexorable human drive to control one’s own destiny, without interference:

Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Working to Be an Ally

Thanks to Rep Kennedy and Sarah McBride for being allies to those working to be allies. I just remembered this image from last year’s women’s march. It’s lovely to live in this century and connect with people who are ready move forward, too.

2017.01.21 Women's March Washington, DC USA 2 00131
2017.01.21 Women’s March Washington, DC USA 2 00131 (View on

Rest of the photos from the evening below, all @CreativeCommons licensed of course, enjoy.

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Ted Eytan, MD