On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’m reminded of Dr. King’s legacy of using nonviolent protest and constructive conflict as the morally necessary course to fight against injustice. One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
In the context of 1963 race issues in the United States, this was a radical assertion. Today, it rings truer than ever, but many now realize that the “inescapable network of mutuality” extends beyond national borders, encompassing the entire global community and the global environment. Consequently, injustice anywhere in the world- whether social or environmental- affects each of us and should be our concern.
However, when one starts to see all of the injustices in all the world as one’s personal responsibility, it is easy to become overwhelmed, tired, and despondent. I’d like to think this has been the unfortunate path of our local Mediators Beyond Borders chapter, with a few people trying to carry too many banners at once. We’ve fallen out of commission, to a degree, although the community and conflict transforming skills we can provide are important for the continual growth of our OSU community and our global community.
Reading an essay about Dr. King’s legacy, I realized what we need more than anything in our work to make the world a better place; we need one another. Strength in numbers. King inspired people to stand up against injustice en mass, to face their fears of the worst- being beaten, arrested, even killed- but to do so with others, ultimately overcoming fear and embracing freedom. For our MBB chapter to continue to build a more “peace-able” world by building conflict resolution capacity, we need others to join us- to be willing to ‘suffer’ by dedicating a little of their precious time and effort to keeping our organization afloat. If we share the load, the weight will be light and the results worthwhile.
Our little chapter is not commensurate with the work of Dr. King, but we hope to take up a small part of his mission to eradicate injustice and make the world a better place. Join us and help carry that banner forward.
An Invitation from MBB Event Planner Kara DiFrancesco:
Please join OSU MBB on Thursday, January 11:30am-1pm in Wilkinson 203 for a short mediation skill-building workshop featuring a presentation by Dr. Aaron T. Wolf on transformative listening. OSU Mediators Beyond Borders (OSU-MBB) will present a mini skill-building workshop featuring a presentation by Aaron Wolf on listening skills that will help you improve your professional and personal communication. Other mediation skills will also be introduced to provide an introduction to OSU-MBB and our past and future activities. We highly encourage anyone to attend and are actively seeking new MBB members. Lunch will be provided! Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get a headcount for lunch.