You don’t know me.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jan 17, 2011
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Posted 2011.

This is my weekly editor’s letter, an introduction to our Top 10 blogs of the week email newsletter—a great way to follow elephant without getting overwhelmed (as opposed to, say, twitter or Facebook, where we’re verrrrry active). ~ ed.

Got MLK?

We’re speedy. Too speedy to give a care about the greatest gentleman America has ever produced.

Martin Luther King, Jr., for most of us, is an icon. No more. A hero, not a man. We know The Speech, we know he worked to truly free his black sisters and brothers and that he did so in a way that didn’t make an enemy of whites. But that’s about it.

He’s become a caricature. When was the last time we sat down and put aside 23 minutes and watched a documentary about him? Or listened to one of his speeches? When was the last time we slowed down enough to remember what made him so successful in his cause—a cause not merely about race but about justice through non-violence or civil disobedience—a cause where other great women and men, such as the Dalai Lama, have struggled to attain any comparable degree of success.

For me, MLK’s message is this: you can be good, and you can win. Sure, King’s tragic assassination made a martyr of him—but Civil Rights, his cause, won out.

Today, MLK would be only 81—a sage elderly gentleman who would likely serve as a reference point for our nation, still. Let us honor him by reconnecting with his message, his voice, his bravery to use gentleness in the face of aggression. His refusal to create enemies, his insistence on turning his enemies into friends.

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

So I ask: what does MLK mean to you? Yes, you!

Yours in the Vision of Enlightened Society,

Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis
editor-in-chief, host, Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

PS: See all our MLK, Jr.-related content here. Or, here. Check out all our articles on our Front Page.

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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


10 Responses to “You don’t know me.”

  1. madziula says:

    "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
    MLK – a messanger of peace. Today, as I read [many of his quotes] I am reminded to BE LOVE in every moment. It's ok to tremble in fear but it is essential to remeber [in the face of fear] that we are ALL born of LOVE.

  2. Katie says:

    Thanks for writing this Waylon. You make a really important point. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who figured huge in the history of civil rights and empowerment of the disenfranchised in the US. For his tremendous work, and the price he paid for it, to be forgotten, nothing more than a symbol, would be to lose a crucial piece of who you are as a people. I'm not even American, but I've always had an intense admiration for Dr. King and what he did for people who had no one to speak for them. There are two famous speeches which will always resonate as words that changed history. Both always bring tears to my eyes. The first is Winston Churchill's "We shall never surrender" speech in the darkest days of the Second World War. The second is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., when he said, "I have a dream!"

  3. Alice2112 says:

    I always heavily reflect on MLK Day as to what actions I take to make the world a better place for others. This is my favorite govt. holiday because it speaks to what I think true patriotism is – loving your country so much to work for progressive change and improve its social state. Standing up for social justice is patriotic. Standing up *against* war is patriotic. Considering the oppressive nature of our government towards activists, it is pretty amazing that our country even has an actual holiday for MLK. MLK Day represents what our Free America could truly accomplish with great effort.

    Some favorite quotes:
    "We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people." MLK

    "Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." MLK

    "One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them." MLK

  4. elephantjournal says:

    i have been one of the few clickers :D. i have found my day brightened by so many taking time to post a variety of the many great words attributed to Dr. King. At least they each read and thought about the words long enough to opt to share so that moment there was a twinkle of the dream. today i spent time trying to be good to others, simple, yup, plain and simple, doing unto others as i would have done unto me. before enlightenment-chop wodd carry water, after enlightenment chop wood carry water…oh, and help chop some and carry some for someone else 😉

  5. elephantjournal says:

    Who posted the above? ~ Waylon

  6. You really want to know about King? You should read Parting the Waters — for no other reason than to get learned on the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which is covered early on in the book and stands alone as a great piece on the man and what he was about and how he did what he did:

  7. TamingAuthor says:

    In conflict resolution and peacemaking circles he is still studied and honored. His approach is not easy.

    The character required to go down the path of nonviolence he used is daunting…perhaps that is the reason he seems to be more symbol than living inspiration. It is difficult for us to make the sacrifices required. Not something that we, including myself, find easy to embrace.

    His niece Alveda King showed great courage this past summer when she appeared with Glenn Beck at 8/28. She was warmly received and MLK's legacy was embraced. Many did not and do not understand the sense in which she represents his legacy in her current brave testimony on issues of life. Her focus on the genocide of abortion in the black community is not something MSM like to cover or even consider. The idea that Alveda and her memory of MLK resonate more with the Tea Party is something that should elicit reflection…

  8. […] but his influence was absolutely essential to the civil rights movement. He began by indoctrinating Martin Luther King Jr. into the principles of non-violence, was a fundamental organizer behind the famous 1963 March on […]

  9. NikkiWDC says:

    I'm lucky that I got to write about this very topic for work today –

    What MLK means to me is that we are all called as shepherds, even the flawed among us (and who isn't flawed among us?), to bear witness and speak truth and crave justice.

  10. tara says:

    love it made me sad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙁 *<:)