by Deborah A. Bailey
I’ve decided to continue my tradition of sharing Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes. You can see previous years here: 2015, 2016, 2018 , 2019, 2020. 2021 and 2022.
Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
It’s extremely easy to meet hate with hate. In fact, it’s how many people live their lives. Or they create a reason to hate so they can justify their actions.
In spite of what many may want to believe, hating takes energy. It takes attention away from things that might be more meaningful in your life. It requires a sort of devotion – as odd as that may sound – so that your entire focus is on that thing.
Not to say that strong feelings are never justified. But it is true that hate can consume the hater.
And when your existence is wrapped up in that object of hate, you are no longer focused on your needs – or your happiness.
Holding the poison inside will also destroy the hater.
One has a responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
During the Civil Rights Era, Dr. King and countless others engaged in civil disobedience. These actions were part of a strategy to bring an attention to unjust laws. Such as legalized segregation (also known as, Jim Crow).
These actions were broadcast on the evening news and brought to the attention of many people who did not know the impact of these laws (or appeared not to know).
But civil disobedience isn’t just a relic of the 1960’s. It’s here and now. Though there are some people more focused on remaining peaceful (and obedient) there is a contradiction in that. Protest is, at its root, designed to disturb the peace. There is no nice way to protest injustice.
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.
The idea here is to focus on building community. Considering what is good for all, as opposed to what is good for you alone.
As it turns out what uplifts the community can also be good for the individuals in it. But you have to be willing to see that.
Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.
Too often people believe that the battles for rights have been won. They’re over. Nothing to see here. Move along. However, the events of recent years should show us that the struggle continues. You can’t sit back and decide you’ve done enough and now you must be persuaded to do more.
History shows that there is always the next hill to climb. The next battle. The next fight for freedom. It might not be a feel-good sentiment, but (as they say) the struggle is real.