You do not have to go far to see the complex web between systemic racism, unconscious bias, privilege, justice, white supremacy, white nationalism, poverty and COVID-19. I’ve written on this before here – https://tinyurl.com/y4upplk7. But, I want to highlight one of the most powerful statements from Dr. King. These are excerpts from his 1967 presidential address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference titled, “Where do we go from here?”. It’s a question many, many of us are asking after 2020, particularly those in churches that have traditionally not asked hard questions, lamented, and moved forward correctly. (Have you read “The Color of Compromise”? If not, I would highly recommend it.) Where do we go from here? Let’s listen to Dr. King today. At the end of the post, I also link to a modern-day prophet in my own community, Malcolm Foley, with some poignant reflections on today and tomorrow and the next.
✅ “𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐤𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐛𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐯𝐞, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐜. 𝐏𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞.” And so, I conclude by saying today that we have a task, and let us go out with a divine dissatisfaction. (Yes)
✅ So, where do we go from here? Another great resource is a write-up from a very respected voice in my own community, Malcolm Foley. He continues to remind us to not simply lament, but to be agitators and extremists of justice. He also reminds us that some of us need to be agitated for comprehensive love and justice. For those of us who are white, we have to listen, listen, and listen some more with extreme humility, not defense stances if you hear the word “privilege” and get mad. This is more than lamenting. Let’s be agitated in the right way.
◾He said in a recent post, “This is a moment where we need to offer the right peace rather than say, peace, peace where there is no peace. Many need to be agitated by extremists for comprehensive love and comprehensive justice. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my forefathers and mothers (and Jesus), it’s that there can be no unity without justice.”
◾Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. (All right)
◾Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice. (Yes sir)
◾Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. ◾Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history (Yes), and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home.
◾Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.
◾Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity.
◾Let us be dissatisfied (All right) until men and women, however black they may be, will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not on the basis of the color of their skin. (Yeah) Let us be dissatisfied. [applause]
◾Let us be dissatisfied (Well) until every state capitol (Yes) will be housed by a governor who will do justly, who will love mercy, and who will walk humbly with his God.
◾Let us be dissatisfied [applause] until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. (Yes)
◾Let us be dissatisfied (Yes) until that day when the lion and the lamb shall lie down together (Yes), and every man will sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid.
◾Let us be dissatisfied (Yes), and men will recognize that out of one blood (Yes) God made all men to dwell upon the face of the earth. (Speak sir)
Here’s his full write-up which should be a required reading: https://waynation.com/mlk-the-agitator-and-extremist-we-need-now/?fbclid=IwAR1CDN2GnUYWNOaXvrsIYC_v_220POZy7rXBcOQ_WviSa6YDZPvTCJRsoJs
“𝐋𝐞𝐭 𝐮𝐬 𝐛𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐧𝐞𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐬. 𝐈𝐟 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐚 𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞, 𝐥𝐞𝐭 𝐮𝐬 𝐛𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐧 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧. 𝐋𝐞𝐭 𝐮𝐬 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞. 𝐋𝐞𝐭 𝐮𝐬 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞. 𝐋𝐞𝐭 𝐮𝐬 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐆𝐨𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐥, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐛𝐲 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐮𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐝.”
SOURCE: Here’s the full speech. We have a tradition in our family to watch the MLK JR “I have a dream” speech. I am going to add this speech to our tradition too. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/where-do-we-go-here-address-delivered-eleventh-annual-sclc-convention
Picture: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking before crowd of 25,000 on March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama. Stephen F. Somerstein—Getty Images