–By Bill Kirchner
“We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
“We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.”
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year to the day before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech at Riverside Church in New York City in which he called for all concerned people to stand together, to “move past indecision to action” and to demand a new America based on a revolution of values “an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole”.
Fast forward to today: We are living in a time and place in which schoolchildren are murdered by the dozens in their classrooms by “patriots”; in which there are more guns than people; in which our government calls for a new “Berlin wall” to protect us from people so desperate for a better life they leave behind everything and everyone they have ever known for the chance to do the jobs no one wants; in which the children of those same people face suspicion, hatred and the threat of arrest and deportation to a place they have never seen every day of their lives; in which people are murdered in our parks, on our streets, and in their backyards by the very police; in which greed trumps everything and everything is for sale, even the lives of the poor and disadvantaged.
In his speech, Dr. King stated that “if we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”
There has never been a time when the revolution called for by Dr. King has been more urgently needed.
On Sunday, April 8, at 6:00pm, Guide To Kulchur will join organizations around the country in a national event sponsored by the USDAC* to honor the legacy of Dr. King, celebrate community, and pledge to stand together in the fight to create a new “American way” where freedom and justice for all is a reality and not just a slogan.
We invite all community members, concerned citizens, artists, story keepers and creative organizers to join us then in readings of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Riverside Speech” and to share with us your memories, stories, poems, songs, laughter and tears as we renew our commitment to speak truth to power and to bring about the revolution that Dr, King envisioned so long ago.
What #RevolutionOfValues is needed now? #WhatWillYouStandFor?
* From their website: “The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) is a people-powered department (not a government agency). We believe that art and culture are powerful and under-tapped resources for creating a more just, equitable, and vibrant world… Everything created must first be imagined, including the future of our communities and of democracy. We are crowd-sourcing a vision of communities shaped by the power of art and culture, where creativity, empathy, equity, and justice are ordinary and everywhere.