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Nonviolent Social Change

“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 may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
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.”
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

You wake up in the morning and prepare for your daily routine. Each day seems just like the last. You get in your car, drive to your destination, complete your duties, and prepare yourself for the next day ahead of you.  Everything you do, you do to the fullest. You want to make an impact. You want to do things in a way that positively affects others. The small steps and contributions you put out in life lead to social change. Nonviolence is key. Ignorance and violence simply fail in the end. Martin Luther King Jr. proved this to be true.

On Martin Luther King Day, many tend to remember and reflect on his infamous “I Have a Dream” speech. King was a leader in the civil rights movement, and serves as a reminder that peaceful protest and nonviolence trumps all. King was a motivating force and his ability to succeed was due, in part, to his peaceful, understanding and patient demeanor. The power of non-violence still shines through his legacy to this day.

We must understand is that being a nonviolent resister does not mean that we are weak or walked upon, but rather we have the courage to stand up for ourselves and prove we are worthy of more than simply being intimidated.  With Martin Luther King Jr., his nonviolent protest did not attack those who had attacked him, but focused on a system that had seemed to lose all sight of “liberty and justice for all.”

I have lived in various places within the United States that has given me the opportunity to meet many different types of people and experienced different individuals who have endured lives that I could not even imagine. Ironically, it has been those who had less, who had endured many hardships and still do until this day, that were the most sincere and caring. They gave back to their community and felt a need to help others the best they could. Volunteering and contributing regardless of your background should be something that we all do. Not only does it help others in need, but brings together and builds community bonds that benefit all.

As Dr. King himself said, “We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity.”

The quality of our service relationship to humanity should define who we are. Possessions are temporary. Honesty, integrity, and positive contributions last a lifetime.

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