One philosophy to live by.
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day - a national holiday in the states and a memorial for one of the most influential figures in American history. Nearly every major city in the United States has a street dedicated to him, and it is estimated that, as of 2014, there were over 900 streets bearing his name. If you're from Michigan, like me, you might be familiar with Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Detroit - often referred to simply as, "MLK". Head one hour north to Flint (where I was born) and you will find an Avenue with the same initials.
Perform a quick internet search and you will find hundreds of quotes from this great orator. Between his sermons (he was a minister) and his speeches during the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King Jr. seems to have made an endless number of prolific statements - each one more timeless and socially relevant than the last. The man was a veritable quote machine.
This is just the one that I happened to be feeling the most today, maybe because it is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. The principles expressed in this statement can be applied to a wide variety of issues - global issues of discrimination and social injustice, as well as smaller, individual experiences.
For some time now, this philosophy has been central to my own personal development and way of living. I keep it in my mind, like a constant mediation. I try to remember it during my work and my day-to-day interactions. I reflect upon it regularly; especially after difficult encounters, when I am feeling particularly frustrated or when I am hearing things that I don't like or disagree with.
To me this quote is not just about how to provoke change, but also a reminder to keep humanity at the forefront. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to remind us that even the people that we find most challenging, most infuriating are still people, and only by maintaining respect for their humanity will we be able to find a way to reach them.
This is only one of the many lessons that Dr. King taught us - only one of the reasons that we celebrate his life every year. For me, it has been a pivotal one, and I'd like to think that, if taken seriously, it is a mantra that could change the world.