This weekend, as we have for many years, mothers around the country will celebrate the birth of a great leader, Martin Luther King Jr. We will be teaching our children — and our grandchildren — about this wonderful person, and his fight for justice, and his belief in nonviolence and the power of love.
But this year is different, too, in a significant, historical way. On January 6, 2021, Confederate flags were carried into our US Capitol by violent insurrectionists, incited by President Trump and others.
Part of celebrating King’s birth must also be remembering his death by assassination, more than 53 years ago. His final act was in support of environmental justice: marching alongside sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee who were fighting to escape a cloud of pollution, enviornmental inequity and racial segregation. He died while literally seeking justice in every breath.
The struggle for justice that Martin Luther King led is far from over. And like domestic terrorism, environmental injustices did not start last week, or four years ago, or even a decade ago.
I have spent hours recently diving through King’s writings, just meditating on some of his wise, profound, and inspiring writings and preachings. His focus on the power of love, and the need to speak up and check injustices, the danger of remaining silent, feels powerfully relevant to me now.
I hope you will join me in taking some time this weekend, to simply meditate on the ways we can move forward. We have a lot of work to do, and we do not have time to waste.
Finally, we cannot take for granted that history moves toward self-correction. We must fight to bend that arc of the universe toward justice. It will not bend toward justice otherwise.
We are all counting on one another.
Please have a safe, peaceful, and thoughtful weekend. We never know where leadership will come from; each child born should be a gift and a promise and a hope. When we say Happy Birthday, we say thank you for joining us in the work to better humankind.