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Fierce Urgency of Now

We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now… We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation. We must move past indecision to action…. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores, and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.

Martin Luther King, Jr. “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,” Riverside Church, New York, April 4, 1967

Facing Arson and Intimidation with Love and Solidarity

Pastor Michael McBride (affectionately known by his congregants and the larger community as Pastor Mike) is the spiritual leader of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley, California, an important and inspiring social justice activist in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally, and a close friend and collaborative partner of the USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice. Yesterday afternoon, Pastor Mike hung a Black Lives Matter banner above the entry to his church; sometime after midnight, an arsonist set fire to a trash bin at the back of the church, charring the building before the fire was discovered and, thankfully, extinguished. Continue Reading

Rev. C.T. Vivian: Memories and Reflections

The Reverend Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian died last night in Atlanta, GA, at the age of 95. I met him between 1962 and 1963, during the years of my work with and on behalf of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We saw one another on numerous occasions during the past 58 years. Referred to affectionately as “C.T.” by those of us who worked closely with him, he was one the most dedicated and fearless of Dr. King’s “battlefield lieutenant generals” in our successful struggle to transform America to end racial segregation during the 1960s. Continue Reading

John Lewis: Memories and Reflections

My first encounter with John Lewis was the day before the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and the early morning of the March, August 28th, 1963. Rumor had gotten back to Dr. King and Bayard Rustin, Executive Director of the March, that Patrick O’Boyle, Catholic Archbishop of Washington, D.C., and one of the original conveners of the March, was threatening to pull out of the March because of what he had been told was a section in John Lewis’ proposed speech at the March to which Archbishop O’Boyle objected because he believed that It appeared to invite violence. Continue Reading

Protect and defend our historic Black Lives Matter movement

Let’s not act stupid and be provoked into self-destructive forms of protest that morally and politically undermines our precious BLM movement.

We must guard against infiltration by agents provocateurs, including the boogaloo movement. We must reject all forms of violence perpetrated by anyone in our name. And we must reject so-called allies who seek to hijack our movement for their own purposes, including activists who traffic in anti-Semitism, harness the power of BLM to delegitimize Israel as a nation state, or who seek to promote other unrelated causes or alliances. Continue Reading

How to create the accountable, anti-racist, law-abiding police we need right now

Let’s be very clear: Black communities don’t want the elimination of police in our communities.

We want and need police.  We need police that are accountable to the communities they serve.  We need police that adhere to the law and protect human rights in all cases no matter what.  We need police that grew up in the neighborhoods they patrol, and who understand the lived experience of the people they are sworn to protect and serve. Continue Reading