An Open letter to all Americans,
April 4, 2014
It’s no secret that Dr. King was a dreamer and like most men and women who dared to change the world, he dreamed big. Within his non-violent approach to enact change, Dr. King left us with a blueprint entitled “Six Principles of Non-Violence”. Principle #2 is of particular interest to me because it focuses on his “Beloved Community.” The Beloved Community is defined by The King Center as the framework for the future and is an overall effort to achieve a reconciled world by raising the level of relationships among people to a height where justice prevails and persons attain their full human potential. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In essence, we must acknowledge that we are all interwoven in the fabric of humanity and it is our duty to uplift and encourage one another in order to achieve positive effective change throughout the community. However, it is obvious that we have not achieved such a Beloved Community because there are still those that live among us who are considered the least of us.
The theme for the 2014 April 4th Foundation is “We Are Still Dreaming”. One might say that Dr. King’s dream has been realized because black children and white children are free to play together and to be judged by the content of their character rather than their skin color. Unfortunately, that is not true for every child and the inequalities that exist transcend skin color. The ills of poverty, inadequate housing, inadequate wages, health care that isn’t inclusive of everyone, continued racial tensions, struggling and inadequate education systems, prison systems that are overcrowded with men and women of color and an all to often seemingly unjust judicial system plagues many parts of The United States of America. As with any problem, it cannot be adequately addressed until it has had a spotlight shined on it, has been thoroughly examined through a microscope, and has been dissected to identify the parts that aren’t working properly. I don’t have the specific answer to all of society’s problems but I do know that The Beloved Community is the overall answer to them. Rooted in the Biblical principle of “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself” it is the medicine that needs to be administered to the nation. Think of how much more compassion, care, and dedication we would exert to eradicate the aforementioned ills if when we saw inequality and injustice we treated it as if it were being done to ourselves. Therefore, making each of us our brother’s keeper.
Like Dr. King, I have a dream. My dream is that Dr. King’s dream will penetrate the house and home of every citizen, every level of government and every heart. It is important that we keep dreaming, broadly and boldly like Dr. King, but we must also work collectively hard to make it so.
Let’s learn how we usher in “The Beloved Community” together.
Love Embraces Peace,
Rev. Johnson E. Saulsberry, Jr.