I had a call today from someone who had heard a major news network entertain a recommendation that the law enforcement officials should use water hoses to quell the unrest on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.
I pray that rather than to resort to more violence in the efforts to stop the violence, leaders and lay people alike will embrace the principles of love and nonviolence, using peace in the quest for justice.
Racial unrest and unresolved tensions are mounting in the aftermath of the shooting death of young Michael Brown. Meanwhile, gruesome reports of the execution of yet another young man, a news reporter reportedly beheaded by the terrorist cell Isis.
Two young American men caught up and killed in the crosshairs of conflicts that are escalating at an alarming rate and dividing the human community. Reason seems murdered in the squares of injustice.
As these events seem to take on Biblical proportions, I am reminded of the 1960s when the town squares of America looked like the streets of Ferguson look after midnight.
When we were faced with guns, dogs, billy clubs and bombs in the 1960s we used the principles of faith, love, peace, and justice. My father, the Rev. AD King, once quelled an angry mob with the entreaty to resist violence as he begged the people who were turning over police cars and hurling boulders into the masses to "please go home and pray. My family and I are unharmed. If you must strike out, strike at me. I would rather you go home and pray. Fight for your rights, but please do so nonviolently."
My uncle MLK once said: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." I beg America to rethink and rephrase "No justice, no peace," to "No peace, no justice." You can't find justice without peace.
My daddy once counseled me in my grief and anger over the assassination of my Uncle ML as I stood inconsolable, muttering in his arms: "I hate white people, daddy. They killed Uncle ML." My daddy kissed my head and said: "Alveda, you can't hate white people. They didn't kill brother. The devil did. You must learn to pray and to forgive, because we all one human race." I began to heal right then; the wounds of racism were becoming overcome by God's love in the arms of my daddy.
Over the years, I learned to embrace the Beloved Community, and to use the principles I was taught in the 1960s by my father and my uncle. I wrote about this in my book "King Rules." Today, I pray for the two families that have lost their sons and loved ones, by the hand of Isis or on the streets of Ferguson. I pray for peace, so that we can receive justice and mercy.
Six Steps and Principles for Nonviolent Social Change — a sequential journey to victory:
- Nonviolence is not passive, but requires courage.
- Nonviolence seeks reconciliation, not defeat of an adversary.
- Nonviolent action is directed at eliminating evil, not destroying an evildoer.
- A willingness to accept suffering for the cause, if necessary, but never to inflict it.
- A rejection of hatred, animosity or violence of the spirit, as well as refusal to commit physical violence.
- Faith that justice will prevail.
Understanding this, we apply the six steps of nonviolent conflict resolution:
1. Prayerfully enter into a process by conducting research and gathering information to get the facts straight;
2. Continuing in prayer, conduct education and awareness campaigns to inform adversaries and the public about the facts of the dispute;
3. Prayerfully commit yourself to live and manifest a nonviolent attitude and actions;
4. Prayerfully mediate and negotiate with adversary in a spirit of goodwill to correct injustice;
5. Prayerfully apply nonviolent direct action, such as prayer vigils, marches, boycotts, mass demonstrations, picketing, sit-ins etc., to help persuade or compel adversary to work toward dispute resolution;
6. Prayerfully anticipate reconciliation among adversaries in a win-win outcome in establishing a sense of community which should now be achievable.
Dr. Alveda C. King grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She is a pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Her family home in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Ky. Alveda herself was jailed during the open housing movement. Read more reports from Dr. Alveda C. King — Click Here Now.
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