Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech 57 years ago today.
I’m understating the case to say that nonviolence hasn’t quite won out yet. I could fill this post with links to news reports just from today, from this country, proving that point.
With all that Dr. King wrote and said, I keep coming back to his 1964 book, Why We Can’t Wait. I have a paperback edition I treasure, published in his lifetime, without prefaces or afterwords written by people trying to frame his words for me.
In a book that continues to challenge me every time I pick it up, there’s this.
Man was born into barbarism when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a conscience. And he has now reached the day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating another’s flesh.Martin Luther King, Why We Can’t Wait
“Must” become, not “has” or “will.” There’s urgency there. Perpetual urgency seems a contradiction in terms, yet here we are.
There’s a march in Washington today, timed to coincide with the anniversary of “I have a dream.” It’s meant to be a nonviolent affirmation of the need for racial justice, and I hope nothing disrupts it.
Pandemic or not, I have no problem with a scheduled march for human rights. Coronavirus doesn’t seem to stand in the way of violence anywhere, so it shouldn’t stand in the way of peaceful demonstrations. The National Park Service in Washington seems to appreciate that.
I expect the same courtesy, permits, and COVID-19 precautions to be extended to the March for Life next January.
Featured photo: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo credit: National Park Service/volunteer Bill Shugarts.