A Martin Luther King Jr. recording on the meaning of non-violent protest was discovered recently in (of all places) someone’s attic. The recording, which is an interview with MLK on December 21, 1960, is about the meaning of non-violent protest.
What moved me is how MLK connects NVP to love. He says: “If one is truly non-violent, that person has a loving spirit. He refuses to inflict injury upon the opponent because he loves the opponent…the idea of love is a basic part of non-violence and vice versa.”
His definition of non-violent protest is also moving. The purpose is to “secure moral by moral means” while “refusing to use internal violence of spirit.” You are protesting an injustice with the purity and passion of your soul. You do not want to inflict harm. You just want to stand up for what is right.
His words still have meaning today as people use non-violet protest to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, drilling, pipelines, economic injustice, and inequality. We should all reread Martin Luther King Jr.’s words and listen to his voice as we go forth into a time that will be defined by our protest against the fossil fuel industry.