Category Archives: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King, Community, and Climate

Climate policy turns on an issue highlighted by Dr. King: Whose suffering counts?
Martin Luther King, Jr., giving his speech Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence at Riverside Church in NYC, April 4, 1967.

Legal Planet, by Dan Farber, January 15, 2024

“A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.”

Dan Farber, Legal Planet contributor.

Those words are from a 1967 speech delivered at Riverside Church by Dr. King about the Vietnam War. He was not, of course, thinking of what was then the obscure issue of climate change. Yet others have drawn the connection between this ethic of human solidarity and the climate crisis.

Here are two other quotations, this time from Pope Francis:

“The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone. If we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all. If we do not, we burden our consciences with the weight of having denied the existence of others.”

“Since the world has been given to us, we can no longer view reality in a purely utilitarian way, in which efficiency and productivity are entirely geared to our individual benefit. Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us.”

Ironically, some of the fiercest opponents of climate action are those who, like House Speaker Mike Johnson, most loudly trumpet their religious faith. The words of Dr. King and Pope Francis seem to fall upon them with deaf ears. Meanwhile, nationalist disregard for the welfare of others seems to be on the rise.

Much of climate policy turns on a single key question, “Whose suffering counts?”.  This issue is the undercurrent of many international debates about climate. It is also central to the most technical debates over the social cost of carbon, where conservatives vociferously demand that harm to the rest of the world be ignored and that the interests of future generations be given as little weight as possible.

It is important to be aware of the limits of idealism in the political arena and the dangers of idealism when detached from realism.  But is it too much to ask that we have some shred of concern for those who are distant from us in space or time?

In the Name of Love: MLK Day Matters More Than Ever at Home and Abroad

[Note from BenIndy: This post was first published on Stephen Golub’s blog, A Promised Land: America as a Developing Country. There, Steve blogs about domestic and international politics and policy, including lessons that the United States can learn from other nations. If interested, you may sign up for future posts by subscribing to the blog.]

Nonviolence over brutishness, inspiration over resignation, love over hate.

By Stephen Golub, January 15, 2024

Benicia resident and author Stephen Golub, A Promised Land

Monday marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Preaching nonviolence over brutishness, inspiration over resignation, love over hate, his message rings truer than ever as we tread into 2024. I’m marking it here by sharing videos featuring a remarkable rock song and an even more powerful speech.

One lesser known aspect of MLK’s work was its international dimension. Traveling to India in 1959, he wrote that “India’s [Mahatma] Gandhi was the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.” He further linked “the Christian doctrine of love” to the Hindu leader’s words and actions.

King conversely inspired and supported human rights struggles across the globe. He helped mobilize international opposition to the South African government’s 1957 prosecution of Nelson Mandela and 155 other anti-apartheid activists for alleged treason. Mandela in turn echoed King’s resounding “Free at last!” cry on several occasions, including when proclaiming his party’s 1994 election triumph that capped the end of apartheid.

But others celebrate MLK far better than I can. Check out the clip that introduces this post. It couples the brilliant U2 song dedicated to King, “In the Name of Love,” with images portraying his life and legacy.

And prize the highlights from one of history’s greatest speeches, King’s “I Have a Dream” address, delivered (and, incredibly, partly ad-libbed) at the Lincoln Memorial as part of the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom:

Shot dead at only 39, MLK did not live to see most of the massive progress he spurred, nor the backsliding that’s also occurred – including in America, India and South Africa. We can view that mixed aftermath as a source of resignation, I suppose. But especially in view of the challenges we face, far better to draw inspiration from all that King achieved and sacrificed in the name of love.

Once more, Steve blogs about domestic and international politics and policy, including lessons that the United States can learn from other nations, at A Promised Land: America as a Developing Country. We recommend you sign up for future posts by subscribing to the blog.


Observing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy Here in Benicia, and Beyond

Teaching the truth behind Dr. King’s legacy reminds us that the struggle for racial equality, is ongoing.

By learning about his life and ideals, we empower ourselves and subsequent generations to continue the fight for racial justice and a more equitable future.

There are several ways to observe and engage with Dr. King’s legacy in Benicia and Solano County this weekend. If you have kids, consider attending at least one. In particular, the “We Are All Related” series at the Benicia Public Library was created with youth education in mind, and is an excellent way to engage in thoughtful, inclusive activities that will keep children entertained as well as educated.

Sunday, January 12:

Tree-Planting Ceremony (Vallejo)

Come Plant a Tree at the city of Vallejo’s Legacy Grove Ceremony in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The ceremony will be from 9am to 12pm, Sunday, January 14, behind City Hall (555 Santa Clara Street) and near the back parking lot.

Snacks will be provided. Please wear closed-toe shoes and bring your own water bottle. Join the City of Vallejo, along with CALFIRE, Solano County Volunteers, Student Conservation Association, and other partners to plant a tree and leave your legacy.


We Walk With Martin: Profiles In Unity Program and March (Benicia)

The We Walk with Martin: Profiles in Unity event will start at 2pm, Sunday, January 14, inside the Benicia Public Library, 150 East L Street.

The “We Are ALL Related”series  is a new program at the Benicia Public Library that uses age-appropriate and family-friendly readings, presentations, and activities to help youth engage meaningfully with important discussions around racial justice and equity.  

“We Walk with Martin: Profiles in Unity” is an exploration of how King’s work and message stay current and relevant in the words and labors of others who strive to keep his dream alive. Participants will learn about the ongoing influence of Martin Luther King Jr. as his message continues to reverberate today and will have opportunity to share this message with others in a peaceful march through downtown Benicia.

Monday, January 15:

MLK March & Program with Vallejo NAACP (Vallejo)

The NAACP Vallejo Branch and the city of Vallejo have invited all community members to celebrate the remarkable legacy and contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. with a march at 9am on Monday, January 15. Following the march, there will be a program at 11am inside the Vallejo Room, on the first floor of the John F. Kennedy Public Library, 505 Santa Clara Street.

Join Benicia Black Lives Matter, Monday, January 17, 1:30pm, MLK Day of Service

Free Educational Virtual Event on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Join Benicia Black Lives Matter for a free virtual event on Monday, January 17, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, to celebrate the national Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day of Service. Established in 1994 to honor Dr. King’s life and contributions to advancing civil rights for Black Americans, this Federal holiday was intended to be a day of not just reflection, but also a day of action and self-education.

BBLM’s free educational Zoom event, which is appropriate for all ages and levels of antiracist work, will feature guest speaker Mark Lampkin and focus on Dr. King’s “Three Evils of Society” speech. In 1967, Dr. King identified these three evils as racism, consumerism/poverty, and militarism/war, and he called for a “radical revolution of values” in pursuit of a more just and equitable future for all. And yet, more than 50 years later in 2022, these three evils Dr. King described are as rooted in our daily lives as—if not more entrenched than—ever.

So what have we learned in the last 50 years, and where do we go from here? How do these three evils affect Solano County and Benicia in particular, and how can we join together to address it? BBLM is a grassroots community organization that was organized to address anti-Black racism by actively committing to building a better Benicia and a better Solano County, one commitment and one change at a time. Join us for this timely discussion and learn more about the historic urgency that calls us to radical change, hope in action, and loving pursuit of improving our shared communities.

Topic: Benicia Black Lives Matter ML King Jr. Day Event
Time: Jan 17, 2022 01:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Meeting ID: 868 8175 2473
Passcode: 171213
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More About Our Special Guest, Mark E. Lampkin


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