“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
–Martin Luther King Jr.
My 15 year-old daughter desperately wants to demonstrate in Exeter to protest racial injustice and inequality. Normally, we wouldn’t have an issue with her going, but right now, we are still in quarantine. So this just isn’t an option, especially since it would further stress an already stressed police force. That doesn’t mean we can’t do something proactive and positive to promote equality and justice in the world.
I suggested that she might be able to make a bigger impact by voting with her purse. If she took the $5 she would have to spend on the train to get there and instead donated that to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, that would probably make a bigger difference, especially if everyone did the same. She feels violence is justified, that it is the only way to make people take you seriously. Maybe, but we only need to look a short way back in time to see what has made the biggest difference.
We can draw on the wisdom and experience of the world’s greatest leaders in the fight against injustice and racism.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
If you want more violence and more hate, then by all means, go and burn cars, break windows, loot and steal. However, if you want justice, equality, peace and happiness, how will violence and destruction help? The most effective protesters in the world including, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi were adamant that violence was not the way to attain equality or justice. Their peaceful leadership has proven the power of non-violent demonstration.
Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Rosa Parks, the American activist said, “Each person must live their life as a model for others.”
How can you be a leader for peace, justice and equality in your own neighborhood? Each one of us can be a positive force for good.
Here are some ideas to take peaceful action for positive change:
- Donate to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund that provides legal support and works for racial justice.
- Read the book by Ibram X Kendi, How to be an Antiracist.
- Equalize pay for women and minorities. Go to Human Resources and challenge them.
- Hire women and minorities in your business, pay them fairly and promote them to positions of leadership.
- Uncover your unconscious biases by taking this online test.
- Watch the film Crash.
- Watch the film Gandhi.
- Volunteer and donate to help the disadvantaged minorities in your community.
- Volunteer to tutor, train and educate the disadvantaged minorities in your community.
- Write, call, text and contact via social media and online your local, state and national representatives and officials and demand that racial injustice be addressed now. Do this more than once.
- Vote, vote, vote. Support and promote parties and candidates committed to justice and stand against those whose actions demonstrate that they are not – regardless of their rhetoric. Actively help and encourage others to vote.
Every one of us can make a difference by fighting wrong with right, by being a model for the world you want. Don’t just stand there, do something positive. Spread love. Stand up for equality and justice for all people.