Remembering Dr. King | Richmond Free Press

We pause this week to reflect on the light and lessons shared with this country and the world by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr King, known as the ‘drum major of justice’, was just 39 when he was murdered 54 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday as he stood on the balcony from the Lorraine Motel.

Dr. King and a small group of his closest advisers were in Memphis to support black city workers — black sanitation workers, to be exact — who had been on strike for nearly a month for higher wages. and better treatment.

Dr. King’s persistent, nonviolent campaign for civil rights, human rights, suffrage, economic and social justice to end racism, militarism and poverty has stung the conscience of this nation. and helped usher in many breakthroughs and opportunities that we now take for granted.

In this post-Trump world where the forces of racism, selfishness, and evil have been unleashed, would Dr. King even recognize our country if he returned today?

At every turn, efforts are being made at the federal, state and local levels to roll back the right to vote, thwart workers’ efforts to unionize for higher wages and workplace protections and to allow the wealthy to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

We are in a global pandemic that has disproportionately affected black people and communities of color, and yet we continue to struggle with health inequities, including access, distribution of health resources and a multitude of conditions that lead to higher rates of illness and death in our community.

Our communities are also plagued by gun violence, with Richmond having recorded 14 homicides so far this year and dozens of non-fatal shootings that are leaving families broken and tormented as they deal with the aftermath.

Certainly, we must be able to defend ourselves, given the growing threat and backlash from white supremacists and terrorists. But we shouldn’t turn against each other.

We have witnessed the hideous forces of the US Senate vehemently attempting to block a highly qualified black woman from being confirmed to the US Supreme Court. And we have a court that seems determined to return our nation to the days of blatant unequal rights that led to Dr. King’s activism, not to mention a judge who is unwilling to recuse himself in cases of clear conflict and that threaten our democracy.

Globally, as a nation, we watch in horror as a Russian autocrat sends troops into Ukraine who brutally torture, rape and kill civilians. Would Dr. King think our economic sanctions are enough to stop the barbaric behavior?

Wreaths were laid Monday at Dr. King’s grave in Atlanta and at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, which has been turned into the National Civil Rights Museum to remind generations of what Dr. King stood for and the evil that sought to destroy him. drop. .

In Atlanta, the King Center used the 54th anniversary of Dr. King’s death to organize a voter education and registration drive, followed by virtual nonviolence training and the delivery of care packages. to the homeless, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

We offer our readers the words of Dr. King which we hope will provide comfort and inspiration in these dark times. And we hope his words will help each of us pick up the slack and continue to advance the principles that Dr. King stood for.

The quotes below, and more, are carved in stone at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC, on glass at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, and in the many books and speech.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

“True peace is not simply the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.

“We need to move quickly from a ‘thing-oriented’ to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are unable to be conquered.

“Injustice everywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable web of reciprocity, bound in a single garment of fate. Anything that affects someone directly, affects everyone indirectly.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”

“If we want to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectoral. Our loyalties must transcend our race, tribe, class and nation; and that means we have to develop a global perspective.

“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

“No. No, we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice flows like water and justice like a mighty river.

“I believe the day will come when all of God’s children, from bass black to treble white, will be significant on the keyboard of the Constitution.”

“This old law of ‘an eye for an eye’ is making everyone blind. The time is always right to do what is right.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the last word in reality. That is why temporarily defeated right is stronger than triumphant evil.

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving.

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