Who is not aware these days of the commotion and noise coming from voices bellowing proclamations of intolerance, suspicion and blame of others? It’s echoed throughout our media, which bears at least some reflection on all of us. And if your extended family is anything like mine, you don’t have to go very far to see major divisions about where the country is headed (in the wrong direction), who’s to blame (those people), and what should or shouldn’t be done about it all.
Amidst this rancorous backdrop, one thing that I am truly grateful for on this Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday is the opportunity to enjoy a holiday celebrating the life of a man who stood for racial justice by using the tools of peace and the power of love to conquer hate. As Dr. King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We need more leaders choosing love. And we must each ask ourselves if we are choosing love over hate.
While Dr. King’s best known speech is his “I have a Dream” speech in which he brings a message of hope and great possibilities for a better county, later, his “Riverside Church” speech widens his focus to themes of social and economic justice. In his desire to go beyond racial equality and raise economic issues, Martin Luther King, Jr. planned the Poor People’s Campaign to reveal the need to address issues of poverty across racial groups. The Campaign was carried out after his assassination and clearly demonstrated that the work for justice was far from complete, evidenced by the prevalence of poverty.
Once again I am thankful–for Dr. King’s ability to bring people together and to not rest while injustice remained. For those of us disturbed by injustice anywhere, let’s again take inspiration from the celebration of this day and sincerely ask ourselves if we’re working towards justice.
By Julie Mauchenheimer, Development Specialist, Prosperity Connection