Beyond Vietnam: Revisiting Dr. King’s Radical Revolution of Values


On April 4, 1967—50 years ago today—the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr delivered his prophetic speech— “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence”—at the Riverside Church in New York City. Today we remain challenged as a nation to eradicate the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism that King evoked so clearly.

That event fifty years ago marked a powerful intersectional meeting of the Black Freedom Movement for racial justice with the peace movement for global justice and the world-wide movement for economic justice.

Today, we carry it forward. Black Lives Matter! Undocumented and Unafraid!Stand with Standing Rock! Say NO! to Fascism. End Mass Incarceration! Human rights, justice, and peace—this is what we fight for.

There can be no peace dividend if we allow the war-makers to pursue a state of endless and permanent warfare beyond Vietnam. There can be no justice if we allow the powerful to move backward on civil rights, social and environmental justice. Indeed, democracy itself is at stake.

Today we revisit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s speech with hope and confidence, and we hold up the principles and lessons for which he lived and died. We build toward the “worldwide fellowship” that he envisioned and that we need now more than ever. Where do we go from here? Chaos or community?

We must find ways to build an unstoppable movement for peace and justice—fire from below!

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