It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Do your kids have the day off of school today? Do you have the day off of work?
I was on Twitter this morning and someone suggested a great thing to do today would be to watch two of Ava Duvernay’s Oscar-nominated movies — the infuriating documentary, 13th, and the inspiring Selma. I thought that sounded like a brilliant plan.
How about you? Will you be doing anything in particular to mark this day? Looking up a favorite MLK quote? Reading an essay or poem? Watching something about his life or work?
Speaking of favorite quotes, can we acknowledge for a minute how prolific he was? He gave 450 speeches per year. I know there are so many memorable words to choose favorites from, but his quotes that I’m drawn to the most right now concern justice. Here are four:
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
“Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
Justice is on my mind because of discussions with Ben Blair about The Locust Effect. The premise of the book is that we can’t get rid of poverty, unless we get rid of violence. And to do that we need to establish dependable paths to justice. Have you read it? It’s pretty intense. It will probably make you incredibly angry, but it will also make you want to take action.
I’d love to hear your favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quotes too. Feel free to paste them into the comments.