Then and Now: Lessons Learned from MLK–Love as the Practice of Freedom

“The use of violence in our struggle is both impractical and immoral. Therefore I would strongly urge… a cessation of the violence and lawlessness presently existing and recognize the power of nonviolent resistance.”

–Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the wake of the 1964 Rochester Rebellion

Last summer, after video circulated of George Floyd being murdered by police in Minneapolis, the United States saw the largest wave of protests since the Civil Rights Movement. On the same day Floyd died, Dion Johnson was shot and killed by an Arizona DPS officer, and thousands of peaceful protestors braved summer heat to call for an end to police brutality in the Valley of the Sun. Their actions stood in contrast with hundreds also joined in looting and property destruction to vent their anger with the status quo. These headlines were reminiscent of 1964, when police brutality incited the first of many urban uprisings dotting that decade. The nonviolent ideology advanced by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. became a central tenet in the civil rights movement and one of the key strategies in the Black freedom struggle. Yet, the protests of this past summer reflect the frustrations of previous generations and raise similar trepidations about the efficacy of nonviolent resistance. This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Emerge News Collective is hosting a conversation on how the legacy of Dr. King continues to influence Black millennials fighting in the Movement for Black Lives. Our discussion will be moderated by Rev. Warren H. Stewart, Jr. with panelists Rev. Quanta Crews, Sarah Tyree, Madalyn Williams, and Leah Marché.