April 4, 2008 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (BIP)
Today marks the 40th Anniversary
of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The upcoming Spring issue of Fellowship magazine will highlight the legacy of Dr. King's work 40 years after his death (April 4, 1968). Here we excerpt Rev. Osagyefo Sekou's reflections on King's sacrifices. Rev. Sekou is the founding national coordinator of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq. Representing over 300 faith-based institutions working to end the war in Iraq.
Another generation of Clergy and Laity Concerned
On April 4, 1967, (one year exactly to the date of his death) Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King issued to America yet another stirring warning, responding to her terrible engagement against the people of Vietnam:
"The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy."
The calling to speak out often invoked great hostility, especially as he increasingly addressed the problems of structural violence manifested in the Vietnam War and domestic poverty.
Dr. King proclaimed in one of his final sermons, "Somewhere we must come to see that human progress neve rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals who are willing to be co-workers with God." The goal of his Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was "to redeem the soul of the nation." The soul of a nation is its social structures, political discourse, and quality of life - democracy.
In what is considered his most "dangerous" speech - "A Time to Break the Silence" on April 4, 1967 - King employed the tortured phrase "vocation of agony." King named the challenge of calling upon god in the struggle for social justice. He gave this speech in the midst of death threats, repudiation from SCLC's board, and merciless attacks in the mainstream and African-American media. A major task of King's public speech was to rebel against the monopoly on religious discourse shaped by conservative religious individuals and institutions, thereby creating space for the revelation of the prophetic god.
Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate for our limited vision, but we must speak.
King carved out a place where the task of religion is to challenge the role of government. His notion of "the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism" highlighted the role of the United States in both the manipulation of foreign governments and its treatment of the poor (at home and abroad) that has led to a crisis in American democracy.
"WE MUST SPEAK..."
1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties. 4. Oppose all discrimination: anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, etc. 5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.
Contact: Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box AB Ola`a (Kurtistown),
Hawai`i 96760. Phone (808) 966-7622 Email firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.malu-aina.org
Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet (April 4, 2008 - 342nd week) - Friday 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office