“I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice.”
Fifty years ago, on December 10, 1964, my father, Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke these words on a stage in Oslo, Norway as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent philosophy and strategy.
Five days ago, as this nation and world were reeling from a grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who choked Eric Garner on a Staten Island street until he was gasping for breath, many were outraged and “moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger.” They did so, and are continuing to do so, in hopes of establishing “a reign of freedom and a rule of justice.”
A half-century later, my father’s words are still powerful, still relevant. Justice, racial equality, and the Beloved Community that he often described are still, to paraphrase Victor Hugo, ideas whose time has come. In fact, their time is long overdue.
This begs the question, “Why have we not made more progress towards the manifestation of global justice, racial equality, and the Beloved Community within this great world house that we inhabit?” Simple: We have not fully embraced the answer that my father shared in his Nobel acceptance speech, in which he stated “Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time… nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation.”
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