Today our nation marks the birth of one of its greatest leaders – Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s importance cannot be overstated – the movement that he led, the progress that came from this movement, and the words and teachings that he has left behind.
At Cure Violence, the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. are of particular importance because at the heart of his philosophy is the value of nonviolence, inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. Perhaps the best way to pay tribute to Dr. King is by passing on the words that he left to us. Below is one our favorite passages, which comes from his book, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” written in 1967, shortly before his untimely death:
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
Let us honor Dr. King by putting his teachings into practice, today and every day.