A couple of weeks ago I was able to interview Marlena Graves and Dennis Edwards after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery was exposed by a leaked video. It was a necessary conversation on race and racism and the reaction of the white believers.
“The common goal of 22 million Afro-Americans is respect as human beings, the God-given right to be a human being. Our common goal is to obtain the human rights that America has been denying us. We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans.” — Malcolm X: “Racism: the Cancer that is Destroying America,” in Egyptian Gazette (Aug. 25 1964).
“There is little hope for us until we become toughminded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of softmindedness. A nation or a civilization that continues to produce softminded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.” — Martin Luther King, Jr., The Strength to Love
“Millions of Americans are coming to see that we are fighting an immoral war that costs nearly thirty billion dollars a year, that we are perpetuating racism, that we are tolerating almost forty million poor during an overflowing of material abundance. Yet they remain helpless to end the war, to feed the hungry, to make brotherhood a reality; this has to shake our faith in ourselves. If we look honestly at the realities of our national life, it is clear that we are not marching forward; we are groping and stumbling; we are divided and confused. Our moral values and our spiritual confidence sink, even as our material wealth ascends. In these trying circumstances, the black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws — racism, poverty, militarism and materialism. It is exposing evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be face.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. “A Testament of Hope” (published posthumously)
“And I submit that nothing will be done until people of good will put their bodies and their souls in motion. And it will be the kind of soul force brought into being as a result of this confrontation that I believe will make the difference. Yes, it will be a poor people’s campaign. This is is the question facing America. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. America has not met its obligation and its responsibilities to the poor.
Leading up to Martin Luther King Day is becoming more of a sacred habit for me. On MLK Day, as well, I will read “Letter from a Birmingham jail” just to kick my weak motivation into a higher gear. This year I was able to add in participating in MLK ceremonies.