On the commemoration of Maya Angelou’s birth, American poet, singer, memoirist, and, on the same date in a different year, the assassination of Martin Luther King, American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 through 1968, 4 April, a reflection on Civil Rights, Activism and Peace is of paramount importance to understand the role of Love as a force for strengthening human connections and building community for social equality.
Inspired by the famous speech “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, and the poem “I know why the caged bird sings” by Maya Angelou, the Speech and the Poem speak about Justice and Freedom. All fueled by an immense Love for social justice and social change for the Greater Good.
“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia
sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaves-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that my four little children will one day
live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color
of their skin but by the content of their character. With this faith we will be able to transform the
jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony
of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work
together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to
jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing
that we will be free one day”.
Dream of Freedom and Justice, using Love as a tool for change in creating community, connection and solid societies based on love and peace between individuals. Love gives Strength and Courage, and its impact can strengthen societies, in working together, struggling together, achieving together. When people work together and act kindly towards one another, it makes a real difference in building peace in the minds and hearts of everyone. Working with mutual understanding, compassion, trust, tolerance, courage, respect , truth and compassion.
“…But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom”
Dream of Change and Freedom. Working hard, keep trying and never giving up. Dreaming of the day the bird will be released from the cage, but already, he sings as an expression of love and dreaming of better days, where he can fly high, and free from societal injustice.
I was amazed to learn that Professor Anne Firth Murray, Founding President of the Global Fund for Women teaches a course in Stanford University called “Love as a force for Social Justice”. In an interview, she speaks about the value of the course to explore how actions grounded in loving kindness and compassion could be powerful tools for approaching and working for social justice. As examples in history, she looks at nonviolent movements and well-known leaders who insisted on the different facets of love, compassion, tolerance, truth, in their movements for justice. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.
Love as a Transformative Force for societal change is a long term goal. The realization that we are all interconnected as human beings and the fact that we share a temporary life on this planet, needs to awaken us and act kindly and respectfully towards one another.
I always think of Love as Activism for a good, higher and future cause for the societal well-being and peace. As individuals, we can start by small acts of kindness, and, step by step, understand our role in the society by communicating a sense of personal strength and empowerment. This is possible only when we open our hearts, ready to receive our going and coming. Then, apply our kindness into a service for society.
My mantra is: : Do to others as you would have them do to you. If we want Love and Justice, we must be able to provide it first, having open hearts to make it happen.