Published on January 19th, 2015 | by Todd Smekens1
Martin Luther King, Jr. – Courage
In Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
BLOG – Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., and while we acknowledge and promote his birthday, we seldom look deeply at his convictions which made him take a stand.
Over time the power of his voice grew, but the message remained the same – silence in the wake of civil injustice wasn’t an option. As a community, we cannot afford to be spectators of this life. When we spot oppression, we all need to push back against it.
Too many times it’s safer to deny what’s happening – we get it. But, denial is death to our selves.
Everything which culminates on this Earth comes from one true source. You can call it by whatever you name you wish, but you cannot deny its existence. We are all connected to the source and to each other.
When we forget about our connection, we suffer and do unspeakable things to ourselves and each other. Our forgetfulness of our connection is the source for most of the tragedies in our country and across the global community. When a child suffers in Africa or Israel, Russia or Palestine, we all feel the pain.
We talk and speak about injustice and prejudice, yet we silently watch as the rights of others are trampled by those who have power. Dr. King stated, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.”
Powerful words, but it’s the truth. We try to rationalize or justify it, but it only masks what we know is wrong. We try to ignore the unsettled feeling, but it won’t go away.
Dr. King took his stand against those in power during the 50’s and 60’s, but his words still ring true today – “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
If we look over the past year, the civil unrest which is occurring is a direct result of the imbalance of power – oppression. Slate magazine compiled a top ten list of the most egregious civil rights violations of 2014, and prefaced the list with these words:
From police brutality and botched executions to voter suppression and election corruption, 2014 was a terrible year for civil liberties in the United States. Protests were quelled by military-grade weapons in scenes worthy of a banana republic, and the divide between the rich and the poor in the freedom and justice they are afforded is Dickensian in its scope. While the country has evolved on marriage equality, it often appears to be backtracking on just about every other advance we have made, from the racial and gender progress of the 1960s to the most basic principles of the criminal justice system.
In order to change the tone of hate, we must speak up. Dr. King urged us all to feel passionate about freedom and justice – it takes courage to speak up. Remaining silent might seem safe – cowardice might seem like the easy way out, but it kills off your soul. Ignoring your conscience is a spiritual flaw which has consequences. Cowards never changed anything in this country.
Today is a good day to honor the memory of this great man. Where will you take a stand? It doesn’t matter where you were born and where you live now, or even the color of your skin. We are all connected to the same source. If one of us is struggling today, we’re all having a bad day.
Dr. King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
How will you honor this great man’s spirit?
This article is a reprint of the article published last year with minor revisions.