The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” As Americans, we must reflect on these words all the time. And especially at this moment, when we are dealing with one of the worst health pandemics and finally the awareness to a systematic long-existing pandemic of injustice. This is also a difficult time because, for the first time in America, we have realized that the hate movement in America is alive and growing.
Dr. King and many of the civil rights leaders understood the power of a single conversation. And the power of continuing to be in conversation with our fellow Americans about the most important things, about who we are and what we strive for. And how we live out our values. America is challenged with experimenting with inclusion. Yet, America fails to recognize this challenge. And every time, we fail to realize this challenge, we continue to create communities that don’t know one another, organizations that don’t understand one another, and communities vulnerable to hate and darkness. And so at this moment, at the same time, we have a new president. And it seems like an end to the cycle of hate. Yet this hate can’t be projected to a past president who used it and fueled it to have created it. That hate still exists and if not directly addressed, it will manifest once again in new ways.
It finally took a health pandemic to finally see the injustice and brutality of the killing of George Floyd and countless others not filmed or known. Injustice in America is legislated by both public and private actors. The time is now to do what is right and see the darkness in the injustice actions that lead us to this moment. It’s time to stand up against state violence here in our own city and corporate greed that manifests economic inequalities and threatens our lives and our planet. Dr. King’s legacy and dream and call to action are reminders to all us to act now. We must not stop our efforts to make a change but instead lean forward in every effort to start to heal our nation. And we can do that by reflecting on the call and words of Dr. King that only light can drive out darkness, and only love can stamp out hate. As the young poet Laurent Amanda Gorman said, “’Not broken but simply unfinished,” it’s time for us to work towards the work that is unfinished.
Muslim Student Program Associate
Assistant Director, Augsburg Interfaith Institute