Here we are on Martin Luther King Day, 2016, a federal holiday recognized by all 50 states*. There’s a black man in the White House, something which would have been unthinkable in his lifetime. And while things are far from perfect, much progress has been made in realizing that dream, a dream that includes all people regardless of race.
Dr. King had the foresight to see that progress was only possible by making a firm commitment to the principles of Non Violence. “We must build a great America. It cannot be built on violence. It cannot be built on riots. And everybody must work hard to build a climate and to change the conditions that make for the bitterness and that make for the agony that cause individuals to turn to this kind of self-destruction. In spite of the difficulties ahead, in spite of the fact that we must work hard, I still have faith in the future. And I still have faith in America, because I love America, and I believe that we will continue to build a coalition of conscience that one day will solve this problem.”
SIX PRINCIPLES OF NONVIOLENCE
Fundamental tenets of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom. The six principles include:
PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.It is active nonviolent resistance to evil.It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.
PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims and are not evil people.The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not people.
PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation.Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.
PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body.Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win.Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.
– See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-philosophy
* The bill to make MLK Day a federal holiday was signed into law in November 1983 and the first official holiday was observed in January 1986. At the time, only 27 states and Washington, D.C., honored the holiday. In 2000, 17 years after the law’s official passage the last hold out, South Carolina ( in the same year it pulled the Confederate flag down from its statehouse dome ) signed a bill recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official state holiday.