Dear Tanenbaum Community –
In August 1967, three years after the passage of The Civil Rights Act and just shy of eight months before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the presidential address at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s national conference. Dr. King, addressing the question of where do we go from here, contextualizes power as —
The ability to achieve purpose. It is the strength required to bring about social, political, or economic change… [T]he concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites… What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and amnesiac. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
Today, we see an ongoing and intentional absence of justice in the racial inequities that continue in neighborhoods, housing access, school parity, health care, voting precincts, workplaces, and at every step in the criminal justice system. We see it in the media, pop culture, the halls of Congress, and how we choose to teach history in schools. Dr. King believed that the end result of non-violent action to confront the injustices of society would be the Beloved Community.
The realization of the Beloved Community requires that we continue to demand justice for all, based in a common love for one another. And no, it’s not easy. King reminds us that as we continue to seek justice, we are not without power. And that seeking justice is an act of love in and of itself.
We must commit ourselves to build upon King’s foundation, and that of so many who came before him, worked with him, and followed in his footsteps. Below are a handful of resources, to help bend the arc of history towards justice.
- Religious & Spiritual Approaches to Anti-Racism: Religious and spiritual communities are actively engaged in anti-racism work. This fact sheet highlights organizations and initiatives working to move the needle toward justice.
- Five Ways to Counter Extremists on Social Media: A “How To” resource sheet for rising above social media extremists and right-wing hate groups.
- Five Ways to Combat Anti-Semitism NOW!: A resource for learning about and combating anti-Semitism
- The Beloved Community: Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.
- A Path Forward: Confronting Hate in America (Video): Tanenbaum’s Combating Extremism Campaign collaborated with Arno Michaelis, a former leader in the skinhead movement and now a peacebuilder, who pushed former white supremacist Ken Parker to meet his first Jew. Arno introduced Ken to Tamara Meyer, a Jewish Holocaust Educator, and to race relations expert Daryl Davis. And they videotaped Ken “break bread with a Jew,” —something he previously vowed never to do, relinquish all of his KKK memorabilia to Daryl, and discuss his regrets.
- Calls and Prayers for Peace and Justice: Read calls and prayers for peace and justice from many of the world’s great religions and philosophical traditions. They echo common threads that connect us, regardless of our different beliefs or lack of belief.
Annually, we reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King as a moral, spiritual, and intellectual leader. We discuss how far we have come, and we think about how far we have to go and the challenges we’ve yet to face. But, this must be our daily work. It must be our daily mission to build justice and promote respect for and in every community. We must expand our movements. They must connect us all.
Thank you for being a part of our community.