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Thoughts on Non-Violence

In Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Presidential Proclamation by Barack Obama

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We must use time creatively and forever realize that the time is always to hope to do great things.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Dr. King continues to have an impact on my life, as he does upon the lives of many people in the world….his idea of fair play and justice still impacts upon me. I am trying to be that fair person, that kind person, that generous, courageous person, that loving person that Martin Luther King, Jr. was and encouraged us to become.” Maya Angelou

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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A Letter to Parents from Michelle Obama, First Lady

Dear parents,

Like so many Americans all across the country, Barack and I were shocked and heartbroken by the horrific act of violence committed in Arizona this past weekend. Yesterday, we had the chance to attend a memorial service and meet with some of the families of those who lost their lives, and both of us were deeply moved by their strength and resilience in the face of such unspeakable tragedy.

As parents, an event like this hits home especially hard. It makes our hearts ache for those who lost loved ones. It makes us want to hug our own families a little tighter. And it makes us think about what an event like this says about the world we live in – and the world in which our children will grow up.

In the days and weeks ahead, as we struggle with these issues ourselves, many of us will find that our children are struggling with them as well. The questions my daughters have asked are the same ones that many of your children will have – and they don’t lend themselves to easy answers. But they will provide an opportunity for us as parents to teach some valuable lessons – about the character of our country, about the values we hold dear, and about finding hope at a time when it seems far away.

We can teach our children that here in America, we embrace each other, and support each other, in times of crisis. And we can help them do that in their own small way – whether it’s by sending a letter, or saying a prayer, or just keeping the victims and their families in their thoughts.

We can teach them the value of tolerance – the practice of assuming the best, rather than the worst, about those around us. We can teach them to give others the benefit of the doubt, particularly those with whom they disagree.

We can also teach our children about the tremendous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve our country and by their families. We can explain to them that although we might not always agree with those who represent us, anyone who enters public life does so because they love their country and want to serve it.

Christina Green felt that call. She was just nine years old when she lost her life. But she was at that store that day because she was passionate about serving others. She had just been elected to her school’s student council, and she wanted to meet her Congresswoman and learn more about politics and public life.

And that’s something else we can do for our children – we can tell them about Christina and about how much she wanted to give back. We can tell them about John Roll, a judge with a reputation for fairness; about Dorothy Morris, a devoted wife to her husband, her high school sweetheart, to whom she’d been married for 55 years; about Phyllis Schneck, a great-grandmother who sewed aprons for church fundraisers; about Dorwan Stoddard, a retired construction worker who helped neighbors down on their luck; and about Gabe Zimmerman, who did community outreach for Congresswoman Giffords, working tirelessly to help folks who were struggling, and was engaged to be married next year. We can tell them about the brave men and women who risked their lives that day to save others. And we can work together to honor their legacy by following their example – by embracing our fellow citizens; by standing up for what we believe is right; and by doing our part, however we can, to serve our communities and our country.

Sincerely,

Michelle Obama

(via The Huffington Post and the White House)