Jan 18, 2009
Happy Dr. King Day!
Were he alive, Dr. King would be 80 years old today. We like to celebrate this day in Atlanta, as Dr. King’s legacy is visible on our very streets, in our very classrooms. I'm not sure what it'll be like here on MLK Day, so I made a flier for my friends. Most of the text is included here.
2009 was born of urgency and a desperation for change. We have limited time to alter our futures with respect to climate change and environmental scarcity (food and water). Our struggles for environmental and social justice demand a diversity of tactics, of which direct action must be one.
These quotes are taken from Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963.
“You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored…. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.”
“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’”
“[T]hough I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label....
[T]he question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?:”
And also, from Van Jones, “Dr. King linked the solutions of civil rights, peace and economic opportunity. We must link the solutions of social justice, peace and ecological sanity. Our new dream must uplift the people -- and the planet, too. This is the calling of our time.”