By: Norman Sandridge
One of the great joys of being a co-executive director of Kallion is having a front row seat to our organization’s growth. Over the past three years, despite COVID-19 and sociopolitical strife around the world, Kallion has built a solid organizational foundation of dedicated, diverse, and talented board members and advisors, with contributions continuing to pour in. Our activity has gone from a set of inchoate leadership development experiments to clearly-defined communities and returning participants who continue to shape Kallion. I have watched in wonder as Kallion has grown in ways that would have been impossible to predict three years ago.
I have also enjoyed the opportunities to speak about Kallion and listen to the experiences of others. In the beginning of Kallion, we knew we had a lot of great ideas and high ideals, but we could not have predicted the number and range of people who would resonate with our message. Now, I get to “sing the Kallion song” to people everywhere on a weekly basis. I get to talk about how the humanities can provide comprehensive and inclusive leadership development, from appreciation to reputation. I get to share stories about how much my students love developing democratic leadership by reflecting on Jamie Raskin’s Unthinkable. More and more, I enjoy talking about how affordable it is to experience a “Kallion moment” compared to other expenses in life. But, as much as I enjoy talking, I am so heartened by what I hear from others about their experiences in Kallion: “Kallion gives me so much hope,” and “no one else is doing what Kallion is doing.” I am not inclined to believe that the universe has a “moral arc”, as Dr. King said, or that it bends one way or another. But I have seen enough great spirits over the past three years to give me the confidence that humanity does have the capacity for a moral arc, and I am hopeful that it will continue to bend toward “creative, benevolent, and lasting improvements to our common condition.”