Celebrating Reverend Martin Luther King Jr’s Legacy, Part 4

 

Martin Luther King Jr, at a press conference / World Telegram & Sun photo by Walter Albertin, 8 June 1964. No known copyright restrictions

One Hundred Contemporary Exemplars of Peace Advocacy and Activism: The First Fifty

by Kathie Malley-Morrison & Anthony J. Marsella

During this week, while we are honoring one of America’s greatest heroes, a man who personified many of the highest ethical values for which human beings can strive, we want to honor other activists promoting peace, social justice, and preservation of the earth. We are proposing 100 names — 50 today and 50 in the next post — for your consideration.    It is a diverse list–with men and women from a broad range of nations,  a variety of religious faiths, and a rainbow of skin colors.

Some of the names are likely to be familiar to you; others may not be.  You can click on each name to learn about that person and what he or she has done to earn our recognition.  Please send us your own nominations for membership in this group of leaders, with links to sites describing their efforts.

Here are our first 50 names; 

  1.  Abdul-Jabbar: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  2.  Adams: David Adams
  3. Albertini: James Albertini
  4.  Assange: Julian Assange
  5.  Atzmon: Gilad Atzmon
  6.  Avnery: Uri Avnery
  7.  Bacevich: Andrew Bacevich
  8. Baroud: Ramzy Baroud
  9.  Benjamin: Medea Benjamin
  10.  Berrigan: Frida Berrigan
  11.  Binney: William Binney
  12. Blum: Willam Blum
  13. Burrowes: Robert J. Burrowes
  14. Caldicott: Helen Caldicott
  15. Caputi: Ross Caputi 
  16. Castro: Gustavo Castro
  17. Chiponda: Melania Chiponda
  18. Chomsky: Noam Chomsky
  19. Coates: Ta-Nehisi Coates
  20. Cole: Juan Cole
  21. Cook: Michelle Cook
  22. Dalai: Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso)
  23. Davis: Angela Davis
  24. De Rosa: Antonio de Rosa
  25. Ebadi: Shirin Ebadi
  26. Eidelson: Roy Eidelson
  27. Ellsberg: Daniel Ellsberg
  28. Engelhardt: Tom Engelhardt
  29. Falk: Richard Falk
  30. Feeley: Tom Feeley
  31. Fonda: Jane Fonda
  32. Galtung: Johan Galtung
  33. Garza: Alicia Garza
  34. Giroux: Henry A. Giroux
  35. Goodman: Amy Goodman
  36. Gorbachev: Mikhail Gorbachev
  37. Greenwald: Glen Greenwald
  38. Guevara-Rosas: Erika Guevara-Rosas
  39. Haugen: Gary Haugen
  40. Hedges: Chris Hedges
  41. Hersh: Seymour Hersh
  42. Hightower: Jim Hightower
  43. Ikeda: Daisaku Ikeda
  44. Jamail: Dahr Jamail
  45. Jones: Van Jones
  46. Kalaygian: Ani Kalayjian
  47. Karman: Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman
  48. Kelly: Kathy Kelly
  49. Killelea: Steve Killelea
  50. Kiriakou: John Kiriakou   

 

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Celebrating Reverend Martin Luther King Jr’s Legacy, Part 3

Martin Luther King Jr, at a press conference / World Telegram & Sun photo by Walter Albertin, 8 June 1964. No known copyright restrictions

By Kathie Malley-Morrison & Anthony J. Marsella

The Meaning of Peace and the Criteria for Nominations to the MLK Peace & Social Justice Activist List

To be hopeful in bad times … is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness …. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

Howard Zinn (2007) A Power Governments Cannot Suppress                      

The word is Hope.

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 Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.”

The XIVth Dalai Lama 

The word is Freedom.

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In 200 CE, Rabbi Tarphon spoke of the importance of individual and collective responsibility to pursue “justice, even as the eternal quest may never be fulfilled: While the task is not upon thee to complete, neither art thou free to desist from doing your part!”

The word is Commitment.

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 The words of Shantidiva, 8th-century Buddhist Bodhisattva.:

            May I be an endless treasure for the poor and destitute;

            May I turn into all things they could ever need,

            And may these then be placed close beside them.

With no sense of loss, may I give up my possessions, even my body,

            And all past, present, and future virtues, to help all beings.

The word is Sacrifice.

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“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”  Mahatma Gandhi

The word is Nonviolence.

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 “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The word is Courage.

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 “I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice no matter who it’s for or against! Malcolm X

The word is Justice.

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 “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

The word is Integrity.

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Freedom, commitment, sacrifice, nonviolence, courage, justice, integrity! These, we believe, are the components of peace and the defining qualities of our nominees for the MLK Peace & Social Justice Activism List.

What do you think of these criteria? Starting with our next post, tell us what you think of our nominees and send your own selections. Together we stand.

 

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Celebrating Reverend Martin Luther King Jr’s Legacy, Part 2

Martin Luther King Jr, at a press conference / World Telegram & Sun photo by Walter Albertin, 8 June 1964. No known copyright restrictions

 

 

By Kathie Malley-Morrison &  Anthony J. Marsella

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., is gone, but his legacy of peace, justice, and nonviolence endures. Hallelujah!

Celebrating that legacy should not be consigned to one day. Let’s strive for an MLK week, an MLK year, an eternally more peaceful and just society.

In that spirit, this week we honor the memory of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. His words and actions sustain those who remain prisoners of poverty, hatred, and violence, and continue to inspire thousands of peace advocates and activists.

Out of those thousands, we are nominating 100 living peace activists for the MLK Peace & Social Justice Team. Compiling this list of advocates and activists was challenging but also  inspiring, as each activist we identified added to our hope for the better world Reverend King envisioned.

The activists we are proposing for the MLK team are not angels; they are not flawless. They are human beings, with the kinds of flaws and frustrating qualities that exist in all of us to greater or lesser extents; however,  in our view, they are doing more good than bad, more helping than hurting, and are striving to make the world a better place for more people.

In our next post, we will describe the qualities that are particularly characteristic of the individuals whom we are nominating as exemplars of the peace and social justice movement. Please comment on those qualities and offer your own view of what it takes to be a peace leader.In subsequent posts, we will provide the names of our 100 nominees for upholders of the MLK legacy. The list is part of an evolving effort to bring recognition and authority to those whose work for social justice, nonviolence, and peace demands attention, support, and gratitude.

You can help: please nominate yourself or others for inclusion (and include a website address or link where possible). Join us in promoting the MLK legacy as an antidote to the hatred, violence, and destruction that seem so prominent in today’s world. If we join together, we can overcome.

 

 

 

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Celebrating the MLK Legacy, Part 1

Martin Luther King Jr, at a press conference / World Telegram & Sun photo by Walter Albertin, 8 June 1964. No known copyright restrictions.

 

Welcome to the Land of King!

by Anthony J. Marsella, Ph.D.

Ladies and gentlemen, I write to you today from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the birthplace and national shrine of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, Nobel Prize laureate, and martyr to the cause of justice.

I write to welcome you to the land where one man made the word “justice” a living reality, where one man’s relentless and indomitable pursuit of justice for his people, and for people everywhere, changed history through nonviolent protest.

I write to welcome you to the land where one’s man’s vision changed a nation’s identity, conscience, and heritage of slavery and abuse of African Americans, and of all people living in bondage, seeking opportunity, screaming for dignity.

It was here, more than 50 years ago, in Atlanta, Georgia, and in a thousand other places across the land – from Alabama to Chicago, from Washington, DC, to California – the deep, resonant, baritone voice of a black man electrified the air with words of such magnitude, of such righteousness, of such eloquence, of such truth, they crushed historical roots oppression, lifting the human spirit to new levels of hope.

It was here, in Atlanta, Georgia, a black man refused to be silenced, denying fear, injury, and pain, and threats, dangers, and risks to life. It was here, and across the land, hundreds of thousands hearkened to King’s inspiring words, joining in protests at costs to their safety, health, and life.

The task before King, and for countless others taking the cause of justice in those tumultuous years, was to undo a history of oppression and to build a future founded on laws that guarantee justice, equality, and liberty, regardless of race, creed, color, gender, or any social identity marker.

This, then, is the pressing challenge of life in our global age, as nations withdraw from social responsibilities and dismiss ideals promised by government and guaranteed by universal human rights and accepted moral codes.

Today, in celebration, we gather to share ideas, to seek wisdom, to pursue inspiration, and to bond in common purpose, in honor of Reverend King’s legacy. Let me, however, be clear in my message:

I do not write to tell you that the profound changes inspired by King and countless others who followed his ways in the 1960s are sufficient. Nor do I write to tell you that we must be content with the many broken political barriers, proud of social advances, and patient with remaining challenges.

I write today to tell you King’s words are enshrined in stone to remind us that the struggle for justice will always continue. I write to you today to tell you the fierce and exhausting struggle beginning in the Land of King 50 years ago has not ended, and will continue for generations to come.

I write today to tell you that the roots of hate, ignorance, and evil endure, nurtured by the protective veils of government corruption, cronyism, greed, and religious prejudices sanctioned by dogma and custom. I call upon you today to join King’s call to justice, now more than 50 years old, as it still echoes throughout our global age.

Listen! Can you hear the cries of the masses around the world who lead lives of desperation, lives devoid of hope, lives existing from moment to moment, each breath lacking reflexive assurance the next breath will come, bringing temporary solace to an aching body and mind.

Today, we are engaged in a global struggle for justice. There are victims of war and violence. There are victims of labor, gender, and child exploitation. There are victims of oppression; there are victims denied freedom. All victims yearn for recognition, support, and justice. All victims are you, for there is no other! This was the message in King’s words.

Answering King’s call and the call of billions of others living amid injustice will not be easy! Heeding King’s call will add burdens to conscience, press discomforting responsibilities upon daily rounds, and risk threat to security.

In answering the call, your life will not be the same. You will be required to face harsh realities; you will be singled out for abuse from reactionary forces whose accepted inhumanity keeps them locked in hate. Your life itself will be at risk.

What will not be at risk, however, is your personal integrity, your dignity, your identity, and your position of gratitude, respect, and admiration in the heart and minds of those you help.

Pursuit of justice is not for the faint of heart. You can expect condemnation, ridicule, insults, entrapment, and defamation. Costs are high, but rewards are more than gold or silver. Rewards come in knowing that in our brief time on Earth, you have done something to advance the cause of justice.

This week, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., our posts offer you exemplars—100 in all—of contemporary peace and nonviolence activists; we celebrate the virtues they, like MLK, personify.  Please join us in the cause; celebrate the legacy of MLK, celebrate the efforts of people today who actively pursue the path of peace and justice.  See you tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

 

 

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