Follow Your 'Drum Major Instinct'

Follow Your ‘Drum Major Instinct’

Tricia Bent-Goodley, PhD, a professor of social work and director of the doctoral program at the Howard University School of Social Work, delivered the keynote address at Creighton’s annual Unity Prayer Luncheon in January, asking attendees to consider a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice,” King said in a famous sermon shortly before his death. “Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

King, Bent-Goodley said, is reminding us that we all have the “drum major instinct,” the desire to lead and spark change. But often, a yearning for recognition and acceptance from others clouds the idealism that motivated us in the first place.

Bent-Goodley said deep, honest self-reflection can provide fundamental clues to what we should value and prioritize.

“I want to remind you that there are seeds planted in you from the Creator of the universe that give each of us a unique purpose to change social conditions, fight injustice and make the world better,” Bent-Goodley said.

The Unity Prayer Luncheon is the cornerstone of Creighton’s annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King. The ceremony also included the presentation of the Drum Major Award by Creighton’s Martin Luther King Jr. Committee to Donna Polk, PhD, CEO of the Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition.