On Monday, January 16th, we celebrate and honor the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who pioneered and transformed the fight against injustice as one of the greatest Civil Rights leaders in history. 

It Starts With Me: Beloved Community

The King Center has set the theme for this year’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as “​​It Starts With Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset to Transform Unjust Systems.” 

The Beloved Community according to Dr. King:

There are certain things we can say about this method that seeks justice without violence. It does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent but to win his friendship and understanding. I think that this is one of the points, one of the basic points, one of the basic distinguishing points between violence and non-violence. The ultimate end of violence is to defeat the opponent. The ultimate end of non-violence is to win the friendship of the opponent. It is necessary to boycott sometimes but the non-violent resister realized that boycott is never an end within itself, but merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor; that the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption. And so the aftermath of violence is bitterness; the aftermath of non-violence is the creation of the beloved community; the aftermath of non-violence is redemption and reconciliation. This is a method that seeks to transform and to redeem, and win the friendship of the opponent, and make it possible for men to live together as brothers in a community, and not continually live with bitterness and friction.

-“Justice Without Violence,” April 3, 1957

It Starts With Me.

Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives. Martin Luther King Jr. 1One of the critical ways to celebrate and honor Dr. King’s work and become part of the Beloved Community is through self-education. Ask yourself: “Do I know, truly know about the injustices that take place in our nation, in our state, in my own community?”  Winning the friendship of an adversary starts with understanding and understanding comes from educating. 

During the day off next week, consider taking the call to action to make it a day on and commit to reading, writing, and/or exploring topics of social injustice. On January 16th we invite our community to join us by taking a moment to collectively share what we’ve learned. Share your ideas on this Padlet and help inspire and motivate others to do the same! Together we can do better!