Thanks to Colleen over at Silver Threading for facilitating this weekly community event.
I was procrastinating, playing with the apps on my phone, I mean I was deciding which of the two half-completed Writers Quote Wednesday posts I should finish, when I stumbled upon a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on my twitter feed and I decided I should change directions entirely.
Considering that tomorrow is what would have been Dr. King’s 86th birthday, using one of his quotes seems appropriate. Dr. King in addition to being a pastor, a civil rights leader, charismatic orator, a champion for justice, was a prolific writer. This quote is a paraphrase from his speech “Where Do We Go From Here?” speech, which was delivered at the 11th annual convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on August 16, 1967 in Atlanta. In this speech as King advocated for continued pressure on white supremacists at the helm of American businesses and government to provide social and economic equality and opportunity to the black community, he also encouraged adherence to non-violent civil disobedience to bring about social change.
Image courtesy of Historical Stock Photo
It is also from this speech at the last SCLC annual convention that King would attend that the oft quoted Dr. King saying is derived: “Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.”
King’s words are as meaningful and appropriate today as they were nearly fifty years ago when he first articulated them. One does not need to look too far to see that our world is in desperate need of a whole lot more love and kindness. Last week alone there was the terrorist attacks against Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish grocer in Paris; the bombing of the NAACP office in Colorado Springs; and Boko Haram’s massacre of 2,000 people in Nigeria. There was the execution of two NYC police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in December and the Ferguson Grand Jury decision and subsequent rioting. That is not to mention the disregard for the lives of young black men in America and America’s reaction outside of the black community every time there is a Mike Brown, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin or Eric Garner.
Yes, Dr. King’s words are as appropriate tonight on the eve of what would have been his 86th birthday as they were in 1967. “I have decided to stick with love. … Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
His words challenge me to start with myself and my interactions with people even in small ways. How much nicer would the world be if everyone we interacted with we came at them from a place of love and kindness? This applies to the cashier at the grocery store who can’t seem to ring correctly, or the person with 500 coupons or WIC checks in line in front of you, or the person who cuts you off in the mall parking lot or the person who has different political or religious views than you do, or cheers for a different football (American or British)team than you do. Can you feel the lightness as the burden of hatred is being lifted even just thinking about living in a world where there is room for everyone’s differences?
In all the horror following the attacks on Charlie Hebdo last week, there was one young Muslim girl in France living by Dr. King’s words as she stood on the street beneath a sign that read “Toulouse est Charlie” handing white roses to people passing by.
In love and kindness there is hope that we remember #AllLivesMatter.