by Deborah A. Bailey
I’ve decided to continue my tradition of sharing quotes. You can see previous years here: 2015, 2016, 2018 , 2019, 2020 and 2021.
“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”
By all accounts, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood he was putting his life on the line. Though some people choose to believe that non-violence is weak or passive, it was a strategy used to achieve the goals of the civil rights movement.
There’s nothing passive about putting yourself in danger for your beliefs. Nothing weak about facing people who want to kill you because you preach against racism and bigotry. What are you willing to commit to in your life? What really matters?
Change comes from taking a stand for what you feel is right – not performative gestures that accomplish nothing.
“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
Before his death, Dr. King had announced a “Poor People’s Campaign” which would address income inequality, education and a “fair minimum wage.” Before he was murdered, he’d gone to Memphis on behalf of striking sanitation workers.
We live in a society that on one hand praises hard work, yet often pays lip service to the people at the lower rungs of the economic ladder. His view was that everyone’s work is important because it contributes to the whole of society.
In his view, hauling garbage didn’t make one lesser than if they were sitting in a corporate boardroom. Changing that outlook will take a lot of work because all these years later, these issues are still with us.
“It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some people and not be in favor of justice for all people.”
Basically, you can’t want justice for some and then look the other way when someone else’s rights are being trampled. That’s not justice. But, as Dr. King observed, some people are more interested in staying silent (and keeping the peace) than they are in justice for all people.