It’s easy to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. once a year on his birthday in January. The sad reality is that most of us in the U.S. don’t really understand his mission for justice and associate him with the struggle for racial equality only. Even fewer of us know about, let alone follow his example to dismantle what he called “the triple evils”: racism, extreme materialism, and militarism. The recent deaths of unarmed black youth by white police officers represent the tragic legacy that we have created for ourselves.
His last book, written in 1967, “Where Do We Go from Here, Chaos or Community?”* is now the urgent and critical question of our time. We must unite to change systems and institutions built on and sustained by white supremacy.
“Let us be those creative dissenters who will call our beloved nation to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
* My 17-year-old nephew gave me a copy of this book for Christmas. That’s remarkable in-and-of-itself. He was on a Civil Rights service-learning trip in Alabama with a youth group from Milwaukee when he bought it for his activist Auntie. This speaks to his character, and the positive influence of his parents and a very cool older sister. Thanks, David!