I wasn’t paying attention. Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the U.S.
So here are things I’m thinking about and seeing……..[And yes, this is long. Mostly just quotations. I collect quotes to inspire me, to help me remember and to fight and speak out.]
Some favorite MLK quotes – because I collect social justice quotations. And I believe these are all still true today.
- “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.”
- “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropists to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice that make philanthropy necessary.”
- “First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., April 16 1963 “uneasy with injustice, but unwilling yet to pay a significant price to eradicate it.”
Some of my other favorite social justice quotations. I think MLK would have liked these. And I believe that these are all still true today.
- “Giving isn’t a posture reserved for the rich or powerful. It is the responsibility and privilege of every man, woman, and child to participate in the task of building more just and humane societies.” (Alfre Woodard, Robin Hood Was Right)
- “Creating social change is exciting. It’s proof that we are alive and thinking. What could be better than to work for a future where fairness is the bottom line?” (Alfre Woodward, Robin Hood Was Right)
- “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.” (Ella Baker, 1964)
- “We’d best restate what civil rights mean: the recognition that racial discrimination played a central role in the development of this nation [U. S.] and its institutions; the understanding that past discrimination resonates in the present; the acknowledgement that millions of Americans, a disproportionate share of them black or Latino, endure persistent poverty and in isolation from mainstream opportunity, and in conditions too brutal and pervasive for them to easily overcome solely on their own; the clearsighted conclusion that we’ve got far to go before there’s equal opportunity in America. And we’d better recognize what civil rights is not: an unregulated ‘free’ market or shaming fingers pointed at racial minorities and the poor.” (Susan Eaton, The Nation magazine, 01-10-17, 2005)
- “As a black person, I am no stranger to race prejudice. But the truth is that in the political world I have been far oftener discriminated against because I am a woman than because I am black.” (S. Representative Shirley Chisholm)
Would MLK, Jr. be as ashamed of us as I am? I think he’d be deeply deeply sad. And I think he’d be hopeful and still fighting. “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice. But there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” (Father Dan Berrigan)
I’m still fighting. But the moral injury (a definition of PTSD) I’m feeling (and so are so many others) … is huge. I feel so sad and so angry so much and so often. I cannot allow this to happen to me:“Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputations…can never bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly avow their sympathies with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.” (Susan B. Anthony)
I must remember what Jessie de la Cruz said. Jessie was a retired farmworker talking of the days before the founding of the United Farm Workers. “La esperanza muere últimata – Hope dies last.”