This weekend, in honor of Martin Luther King Day, I attended the incredibly moving film Selma. What most stood out for me, watching that line of people marching toward a line of angry, heavily armed policemen, was their courage.
To march forward, knowing you are likely to be physically attacked.
To do so with a commitment to nonviolence, refusing to fight back.
To get up the next day and DO IT AGAIN.
Because the psychic and emotional pain of oppression is greater than the physical pain of being beaten.
Could I ever be that brave? Could you? Could we together? I’d like to think so, but I’ve never been tested in that way. The marching and protesting I have done feels very small in comparison.
Looking at the photos, I am also impressed by the fact that they all look so dignified in their Sunday best.
They seized the moral high ground by maintaining their commitment to nonviolence, to show the world that THEY were not the ones fomenting unrest, but their racist neighbors and cops and politicians. How different from today, when so many demonstrations seem to end with broken windows and burning cars and theft.
Courage. Nonviolence. Dignity.
Thank you, Dr. King. The courage and sacrifices made by you and your colleagues made this world a better place, not just for African Americans, but for all Americans.