Happy Birthday to me and Martin Luther King Jr.!

Image found at thebratrights.blogspot.com

It’s my birthday today!

And it’s also Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday!

I’m proud to share a birthday with such a great man. King is one of my heroes, as he is a great role model for non-violent activism. He made a difference without pulling any triggers or dispatching any troops. He taught me to believe that the power of love and non-violence can change the world.

I’ll let the man speak for himself. Here are a few of my favorite quotes by him (taken from brainyquote.com):

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
 
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
 
Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
 
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.
 Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
 
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. 

Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.
 
The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of
civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant
animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
 
At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let us all take a look at ourselves. Let us self-evaluate, and see where our own racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, violence, ignorance, and apathy have been hindering the cause of equality for all. Let us look into the darkest places of our hearts and illuminate them with love. And let us remember, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

  • Oak Park Dave

    Happy Birthday!

    MLK’s legacy reminds us that we don’t have to be perfect in order to have a positive impact on those around us. The man cheated on his wife numerous times. He plagiarized sections of his dissertation. Despite these shortcomings he had a clarity of conviction about civil rights and a dedication to peace that moved others and changed hearts.


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