Local 2195

Remembering Dr King- A Voice For Today

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
A Voice For Today

by UAW Local 2195 Webmaster John Davis

On January 15, 2018, our country will once again observe the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was a voice of reason who led peaceful protests during a dark time, a time when hate and prejudice was accepted as common behavior. His quotes were pearls of wisdom during a turbulent time. During the troubled times of today, it would benefit us to remind our nation of some of his most heart searing statements.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Dr. King could have allowed the hate of those who persecuted him to affect his way of thinking, but he did not. On September 30, 1956, while he served as pastor of Dexter Street Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, segregationist bombed Dr. King’s home. The explosion did significant damage to the front of Dr. King’s house while his wife and daughter were inside. At the time of the attack, Dr. King was speaking at a meeting in support of the boycott of the Montgomery bus system, which was organized because of Rosa Park’s arrest from the prior December. Montgomery resident Rosa Parks had been arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. Upon hearing the news, Dr. King immediately rushed home to find his house damaged and his yard filled with his supporters, carrying weapons to defend the King family. Once Dr. King had checked on his family, he went outside to calm those who had gathered. He told them “Don’t get panicky. Don’t do anything panicky. Don’t get your weapons. If you have weapons, take them home. He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. Remember that is what Jesus said. We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. This is what we must live by. We must meet hate with love.”

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity” This quote comes from a point Dr. King made about some who try to rationalize the enslavement, vilification and treatment of African Americans. During the Civil Rights Movement, the supporters of segregation worked to portray African Americans as inferior. Through propaganda and misinformation the enemies of Civil Rights swayed much of the public to their positions through spreading ignorance. Today we face the same issues. Our current world of 24-hour news cycles and “news commentary” that passes itself off as news does everything they can to create division, panic, anger and hate. If only we could learn from the example of Dr. King and use love to confront our enemies.

“Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?” Dr. King posed this question in a sermon titled “Three Dimensions of a Complete Life”. As a nation we must ask ourselves this same question. Unfortunately, the answer is not what Dr. King would have approved of.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Speaking in Selma, Alabama in 1965, Dr. King included this phrase in a speech. Voting rights were being trampled, as African American citizens lived in fear while segregationist reined terror across the south. Dr. King encouraged society to speak up about these acts and not turn a blind eye. Today we are watching messages of hate and intolerance being shared on talk radio, conservative news networks and even from pulpits. It is up to the rest of us to rise up and take a firm stand against this hate and prejudice. Turning a deaf ear to comments from friends and family that spread lies and intolerance, is being silent. In times such as these, our voices are important. Silence has allowed a small segment of our society to take over our country and we are currently suffering the consequences of that silence. For our lives to matter, we must say no more to hate, no more to discrimination, no more to nationalist views that pit us against the world and no more to a system that rewards those at the top of the spectrum while punishing those at the bottom that actually do the work.

While tributes and specials events are a fitting way to remember a great man like Dr. King, the best remembrance is to continue the work he started. We can do this by not giving into hate, not giving in to ignorance, doing for others and not standing silent in times of turmoil and strife. If we can accomplish these things, then the work and legacy of a great man will be remembered and continued.

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