Celebrating Dr. King Day, Dr. King’s Way

Give Love For MLK Day!

It is very well known that Dr. King was a civil rights leader. However, when I listen to humans talk about and express discriminatory views toward certain groups of people, lifestyles, and classes — yet claim to understand and appreciate the struggles and sacrifices of the civil rights movement, it makes me wonder if they understand what the word “civil” means when relating to the civil rights movement.

Civil: Relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as district from military or ecclesiastical matters.

By that definition, “civil” means, everyone; thus, civil rights would mean justice for all people.

Of course, equal rights for Black people was at the forefront of the movement, due to the condition of Black communities — especially, but not exclusively, in the southern states. The plight of the Black populace was so horrendous that it definitely required immediate attention. So, yes, equal rights for Black people was the primary concern of the movement, but it was not the only concern.

The fight for civil rights included (but was not limited to): equal rights for women, poor people, alternative lifestyles — any people who were subjected to discrimination.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice, everywhere”

Any time we discriminate against each other, or unfairly stereotype each other, we are dishonoring an entire movement — people who sacrificed their livelihoods as well as their lives in an effort to make the world a better place for all people.

Nonviolence

In my lifetime, I’ve heard people criticize and say some pretty awful things about Dr. King, because of his use of nonviolence as a tactic. If this is what I’ve heard in my lifetime, I can only imagine the criticisms expressed as these events were happening in real time.

Hundreds of times, I’ve heard people say, after watching footage of dogs, and fire truck hoses being used on protesters in the 1960’s, that it couldn’t have been them — that they would have fought back. If I am to be honest with myself, I, too, would have to say that I would have certainly fought back. I’m not strong enough to be nonviolent, and neither are many of those who claim to have the stamina to to remain nonviolent while being spat on, called terrible names, kicked, pushed, beaten, and much more. Those of us who admit that we are not strong enough to withstand that type of abuse, even if it is for the betterment of the world, are more honest than those who say that they wouldn’t. It’s natural to strike back when struck or attacked in any way. It’s unnatural to stand still and allow yourself to be abused.

Going against nature and allowing themselves to accept abuse, because the greater good was more important, was very difficult. Unlearning human nature and learning to accept abuse and humiliation required practice. Classes were held in churches that taught protesters how to be nonviolent — how to take a punch, remain calm when they were being cursed at and spat on, and how to go limp and become dead weight when police would unfairly cuff them and drag them off to jail. Most of us could not handle that. I know that I couldn’t.

Nonviolence is the most courageous, revolutionary, and effective tactic that could have been used at the time. Most of us would allow ego and vanity to take over, because we are too weak to allow anyone to see or hear about us getting our asses kicked.

Dr. King knew that the news, being broadcast all over the world, was beneficial to the movement. If the world were to see how the United States treated its people, what would they think? Dr. King and the entire movement used the ego and vanity of a nation against itself (which is probably why LBJ became anxious to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But, that’s only my opinion). Those who would protest and march for the cause did so, fully aware that they would be beaten, humiliated, and that some would lose their lives, but that was not a deterrent, because they believed in the cause and was committed to making the world a better place. Conversely, we have people today who speak against marching, yet, none of those people are doing a thing to improve our situations. They’re weak. It takes far more courage and strength to take action, or be nonviolent, than it does to criticize and do nothing.

Although the efforts of the movement have increased our quality of life, we still have a long way to go. So, for MLK, 2019, don’t sleep in! Don’t have a lazy day! Celebrate our beloved martyr by taking action and becoming a part of the community. Take someone to register to vote (you don’t have to wait until election time to do so), help someone who can’t do for themselves, spend time with someone who is shut in or locked up, talk to young people about the movement, so maybe they won’t take their rights for granted. No effort is too small, if it comes from the heart.

If we can learn to love each other, we can live together without the use of racial or homophobic slurs and classist statements. There’d be no more need for some to be inferior so others can be superior. There’d be no division — just a a beautiful world full of beautiful people, beneath an awesome Universe. We are all afforded the right, at birth, to simply “be“. Love was Dr. King’s theme. Let’s pass it on.

“I’d like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say, on that day, that Dr. King tried to love somebody”

~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April 3, 1968.