The King Center

Hope you all saw my hopeful letter to Martin, yesterday, but today I want to ask people to spend a little time further investigating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and challenge everyone to get busy if they are not already in furthering his precepts though activism.

One of the best places to advance your education is The Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, known as The King Center. Here you will find thousands of digitized documents pertaining to his legacy which established and newly minted activists will find enlightening and empowering. Dr. King’s life and teachings are accessible and the most apt anchor to guide and ground our collective social justice campaigns while giving hope to all the individuals who today, more than ever before, are willing to lay down their lives on behalf of freedom for all people.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. November 15, 1964 Flickr/creative commons

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
November 15, 1964
Flickr/creative commons

The philosophy of Dr. King underpins his entire life and the lives of his many followers. At The King Center website, you can read all about it in just a few pages. It is guaranteed to give you a new or newly invigorated focus because he addresses the entire breadth of effective activism on any front, regardless of your specific cause for freedom: the triple evils of poverty, racism, and militarism that exist in an intersectional and vicious cycle; the six principles of nonviolence; the six steps to nonviolent social change; and, concluding, an outline of what Dr. King called, The Beloved Community. In your organizational spaces or at home, print out these few pages and put them on the wall; look and re-read them often.

The goal of Dr. King’s philosophy culminates in the realization of The Beloved Community, the future humane world where old, coercive, and inhumane systems are vanishing, and being replaced with new, voluntary, humane ways of doing things that do not leave anyone behind. VenusPlusX points to the same end point. Dr. King teaches us that this is not an idealistic, perfected world but one where the reconciliation of adversaries is based on a “mutual, determined commitment to non-violence,” where all conflicts are resolved peacefully, “a type of love that can transform opponents into friends.”

In his 1959 Sermon on Gandhi, Dr. King elaborated on the after-effects of choosing nonviolence over violence: “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, so that when the battle’s over, a new relationship comes into being between the oppressed and the oppressor.” In the same sermon, he contrasted violent versus nonviolent resistance to oppression. “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”

Laying down one’s life for the cause of freedom is perhaps the best, the most noble thing you can do because until everyone is free, no one is free. (For those wondering, yes, that’s also a Jesusonian principle, that the greatest love we have have is to lay down our lives for a friend. But this doesn’t mean dying, it just means living another way.) I can have all the money in the world but if there is one child, perhaps a poor child, maybe a hungry child, living under an oppressive system, I cannot be silent. So I challenge all of you lurkers out there to commit just one hour, 60 minutes, on one day of the week, to do something to advance freedom for all people. You will find it is the most interesting and life-giving party around.

 

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Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner

Alison Gardner is co-founder of VenusPlusX, and writes frequently on global sexual freedom, American fundamentalists exporting hate and homophobia, and grassroots activism.
Alison Gardner