“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963
Months before he delivered his significant speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was bravely writing those responsible for his incarceration a letter that would become a crucial text for the civil rights movement. His April 16, 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail defends nonviolent resistance to racism, arguing that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws. Dr. King included the full text in his 1964 book Why We Can’t Wait.
On this day of his birth I feel especially energized to do what I can to make a difference! Beyond the kindness for all that I always share with smiles, kind words and courtesy, I can write letters. I can support organizations and individuals working towards diversity. I can express my opinions on how we are all the same and are deeply interconnected. I can encourage dialogue on what can be done. I can do something! I can raise my voice so that I may be heard.
What more can I be doing about bringing human rights to the forefront, towards eliminating poverty and promoting equality? If my neighbours, friends or family of any religion, orientation, skin colour or nationality were suffering from hate-mongering harassment, I’d be there like a mother bear, putting myself on the line for their safety.
Let’s be like those courageous passersby caught taking a stand by hidden cameras in the program What Would You Do and we would make Martin Luther King Jr. proud! Let’s take a stand for freedom and speak out against injustice. And, as many of the folks captured on that televised ‘social experiment’ have shown, we are most powerful when we are not angry. We have the loudest voice when it is spoken softly. Take a stand with calm firmness, and bring the higher vibration of love to the moment. Be a miracle worker.
If witnessing an injustice directed towards a minority (by small-minded persons who fear ‘otherness’) let us speak up for them as we would have them speak up for us. Once we have stepped up, we open the situation to miracles. It’s been proven that other strangers step forward more quickly after the first person has spoken. We can lead the way with our example and help miracles to happen. Let’s speak up against any injustice we may witness, as well as those occurring beyond our immediate locale. Let’s do what we can to help keep Dr. King’s life-work alive and thriving.
- Leviticus 19:18 NIV ~ Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
- Luke 6:31 NIV ~ Do to others as you would have them do to you.
- Whom should I despise, since the one Lord made us all. ~ Guru Granth Sahib, p.1237
- What thou avoidest suffering thyself, seek not to impose on others. ~ Epictetus
- Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. ~ Laozi (Lao Tzu)
‘Do unto others’ is a concept no religion misses. All versions of the Golden Rule have one aspect in common: they urge that we treat others in a way in which we ourselves would like to be treated.