Today, as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I decided to take a few minutes to read through his quotes to honor his legacy. I was so touched by so many of his words which focus on our individual character and how it impacts the world.
Today, January 16, 2017, here is the quote that spoke most to me.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In 2016 I was saddened by the atmosphere of disrespect and disregard for human difference in this country. During the election process there were people who said they wanted to lead this country but led with ideas of division, separatism, hate and intimidation towards disempowered and vulnerable individuals.
This atmosphere continued after the election and worsened as we saw riots in cities. There has been a rise in hateful harassment, swastika vandalism, anti-immigrant, anti-Black, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and anti-woman rhetoric. (Information taken from the Southern Poverty Law Center.)
It has been heartbreaking for me to hear about incidents in my community where hatred and vandalism have prevailed. It is in my nature to do something to help alleviate suffering. It is in my nature to want to create healing and support. So I have been searching my heart and mind to find ways to bring people together.
When I saw the quote from Dr. King it gave me a moment of inspiration and hope. It gave me a way to begin to speak to others about how we can begin to change this atmosphere of uncertainly and darkness that so many people are feeling. It seems so simple. We have to speak about what we believe in. We cannot just ignore words and actions that we think are hurtful and hateful. When we do we are passively accepting evil. And according to Dr. King we are cooperating with evil in our silence.
Instead, we have to talk about what we believe in. We have to talk about what we are proud of. If we see a story that is disrespectful of women, we must talk about a story that shows women as an inspiration. If we hear stories of division, we might share stories of how people in this country have come together to build communities.
What I got from all Dr. King’s quotes is that we have to constantly reinforce love in everything we do: the words we say to one another, the actions we take with the people we know and the people that we don’t know. We have to decide to live in a loving community and we show love in order to propagate it in the world.
So I am thankful that we have a day to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King because in honoring him today I have found another way to look at our current atmosphere with hope and an open heart.