Every year on January 16th, Americans come together to remember the legacy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left behind. In a time when people resulted to violence and anger to relieve racial tension MLK channeled his passion into words rather than fist, love rather than hate and peaceful protests rather riots.
America is currently going through its own transition of social opposition with movements like #BlackLivesMatter and the Women’s March on Washington. These examples of protest have also come under scrutiny by the public and the media for their “radical” ideas and tactics. With so many feelings intertwined with these campaigns some people let their emotions get the best of them and act out of instinct instead of reason.
MLK practiced the concept of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau which when the citizens of a government only follow the laws that they feel fair and just. It’s the same idea as “good trouble” which is when you stir up trouble to better your situation (the entire Civil Rights Movement, honestly).
So to those involved in #BlackLivesMatter and the Women’s March: violence is not the answer. I know it’s a cliché but it’s the truth. Violence incites violence which keeps our society stagnant.
I also have a message to those who criticize these movements who do act in peace in most circumstances. Remember that just because you don’t feel the anger that these marginalized groups do doesn’t not make their cases invalid. Listen to what these people go through on a daily basis and throughout history. Put your pride aside and listen to understand, not to respond. You cannot respect and honor leaders like MLK and criticize people who are feeling damaged by society and using their voice to change it.
It is yet again a time for another revolution. People are still being stepped on by the government and will continue to be if something is not done. Luckily, America is a democracy and the power is in the hands of the people and I think we sometimes forget that. Politicians only have power because we gave it to them.
On days like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day we must remember to use the same optimism for change that he had.
The revolution will not be televised, the revolution will be live.