Honoring Dr. King — and aligning our lives with the path he set out for us

This weekend our nation celebrates the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr..  We remember Dr. King and the millions of people who participated in the Black Freedom Movement, the movement to end the War in Vietnam, and the Poor Peoples Movement in which he offered leadership, vision and a method of action:   organized, disciplined nonviolence in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi as applied to the struggle against t racism, poverty and militarism in the United States and internationally.  We reflect on the lessons of these movements and we reconsecrate ourselves to this unfinished struggle, to the full achievement of democracy, equality and human rights in our country and everywhere in the world.   We remember that injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere, and we take action accordingly, reconfirming our commitment to nonviolence as a strategy and way of life.

As we approach the 2023 MLK holiday, there are many opportunities to engage in community efforts to keep alive Dr. King’s fierce, passionate struggle for justice and freedom.  Among these important events and gatherings, I note several below which involve the USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice as a participant or a supporter, and encourage you to join us:

Friday 1/13 through Monday 1/16, World House Project Documentary Film Festival

The World House Project at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law within Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies will host a free, four-day virtual film festival/webinar beginning Friday evening,  Jan. 13 through Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. This festival provides an extraordinary opportunity to view over 40 outstanding documentary films about Dr. King, the Black Freedom Movement (including films about Bayard Rustin, John Lewis, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Dorothy Cotton, and Fred Shuttlesworth), the movement against the war in Vietnam (The Boys Who Said No, and Sir No Sir), racial justice and human rights struggles today in the U.S. (including True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality, and On These Grounds), in Africa (including films about Congo and South Africa), and nonviolence as a way of life (The Third Harmony and The Vow from Hiroshima).

Renowned King scholar and World House Project Director Dr. Clayborne Carson will engage in dialogue with filmmakers, scholars and activists throughout the weekend.   I will join him with Vietnam Veteran peace activist Ron Carver on Sunday 1/15 at 2pm, to discuss the movement against the Vietnam War — and again with Fr. Barwende Sane on Monday 1/16 at 3pm to discuss the work of the USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice, including Fr. Sane’s nonviolence training programs in Burkina Faso.

Saturday 1/14, 5pm:   “2023 King and Faith Symposium” at Stanford Memorial Church.

I plan to attend this program, featuring Dr. Tracey E. Hucks, Dr. Raymond Carr, Dr. Julius Bailey, Aaron Grizzell, and Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs, Senior Associate Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at Stanford University and Pastor of Stanford Memorial Church.

Sunday 1/15, 8:20pm to 10:00pm, Street Soldiers Radio with Dr. Joe Marshall.   

This Sunday’s program will feature Dr. Clarence B. Jones in dialogue with Dr. Marshall’s young people asking their most urgent questions about Dr. Martin Luther King.   Tune in on KMEL 106 in the SF Bay Area, or you can watch on Facebook from anywhere at Facebook.com/StayAliveAndFree or click here.  (Dr. Jones will also be speaking to the Black Law Students Associations at USF Law School and Santa Clara Law School this week).

Thursday, 1/26, Realizing the Beloved Community in a World of Ecological Peril, University of San Francisco, McLaren Complex 251, or livestream via Zoom

The USF Institute for Nonviolence and Social Justice, the USF Office of the President, and the USF Office of the Provost will convene a community gathering to carry forward the vision of Beloved Community shared by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thich Nhat Hanh, by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’, and by all of us united in the struggle to protect the earth we share with all beings.
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California; Pastor, Grade Cathedral; and author, Brothers in the Beloved Community: The Friendship of Thich Nhat Hanh and Martin Luther King Jr., will give opening remarks, and then Bishop Andrus will engage in dialogue with a wonderful group of respondents:

Fr. Paul J Fitzgerald, President of the University of San Francisco

Dr. Chinyere Oparah, USF Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy, USF Vice Provost of Equity, Inclusion and Faculty Excellence

Dr. Kouslaa Kessler-Mata, Associate Professor in the USF Politics Department, member of California Governor Newsom’s Truth and Healing Council, and co-founder of the California Indian Land Institute.

REGISTER HERE to join us for the in-person or virtual event

Saturday 1/28 and Sunday 1/29, Annual Bob Moses Conference, The Vote, Caste, and the Carceral State,

The Bob Moses Conference this year has an impressive lineup of racial justice scholars and activists who will be speaking, including Michelle Alexander, Douglas Blackmon, Margaret Burnham, James Forman, Danny Glover, Justice Goodwin Liu, Desmond Meade, and Khalil Gibran Muhammed.

Please join us for these events, or join many other events honoring Dr. King throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and around the country.