Each year, we pause to reflect on the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King and the organizing work he led to address issues of systemic racism and white supremacy. Many of the challenges Dr. King wrote about in his 1964 book, Why We Can’t Wait still exist. Six decades later, we are still asking ourselves, “Was emancipation a fact?” “Was freedom a force?”
Dr. King asked us to solve local problems, but understood their national and even global impact. He fought for the rights of garbage workers in Memphis, bus riders in Montgomery, renters in Chicago, and voters in every city. He spoke up against the Vietnam war and the U.S. involvement in it. He asked us to connect to our neighbors with a spirit of generosity and care and to extend that spirit to every human being we meet.
As I read Dr. King’s words, I am reminded that we have the power because we are the power. We choose to embrace the spirit of the teachings of Dr. King, those he influenced, and all of us who continue to work for social change. We have the power to use the tools of nonviolence, direct action, restorative justice practices, peace, and love, to build a world that is safer and brighter for everyone
JCUA is living out the imperative of Dr. King by addressing local issues through connecting with our neighbors in generosity and solidarity. We know we have a long way to go. For today, let us feel the spark and inspiration from Dr King, and have the dedication and faith that we can continue to work until we can answer the questions “Is emancipation a fact?” and “Is freedom a force?” with a resounding YES!