"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Stefan Prystawik, LLM, PhD

 

Stefan Prystawik works as a publicist in Chicago and Berlin, Germany. With his longstanding experience in individual strategic advice, governmental and non-governmental policy planning and in developing strategic solutions for his clients, he has been advising individuals and public figures such as lawmakers, the legal profession as well as government agencies, NGOs and companies in the U.S. and in Europe.

Stefan holds degrees in public law (LLM, Bielefeld, Germany) and sociology (PhD, Canterbury, U.K.) and has lectured at Kingston University Law School in London.He represents the Council on Global Antidiscrimination as Secretary General and is a Senior Fellow at Research Academy FoSAR in Germany. Stefan presently serves as General Counsel for PRC Law LL.C. as well as EU Coordinator of the European Anti-Discrimination Council.

He is a member of various press organizations and legal and civic associations, such as the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Bar Association and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. He is Chief Executive of the Ride for Reading Foundation.

#RaiseYourShield

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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