The social movements of today are missing a critical element that was core to every movement that’s ever cracked the foundations of injustice: Self Purification.
Without self purification, we are nothing more than slaves fighting for a different form of slavery.
Great leaders have lost their lives teaching us lessons that we have been quick to forget. These great leaders sought to empower rather than victimize their communities.
Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Ghandi, Jesus: They are often quoted, but what they preached is rarely practiced.
I want to offer you to return to the words of 3 recent great leaders who gave the ultimate sacrifice in their pursuit of freedom for all. Indeed, they wanted liberty and had no fear of death.
If we remember and practice what they preached, we can then begin where they left off.
“A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself.” — Malcolm X
If there was one book that has drastically changed my life, it is the Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Malcolm showed me what it means to be a man. He showed me what it means to value myself, to question my past, and challenge injustice.
He, perhaps more than any leader ever known, practiced what he preached. He didn’t drink. He didn’t smoke. He was loyal to his family and committed to freeing people from their own worst enemy: themselves.
Malcolm X developed a drug rehabilitation program that removed drug addicts from the streets of Harlem and turned them into sober, suit-wearing citizens. This was the Fruit of Islam.
One of the world’s greatest orators, Malcolm is an example of a man living in the absence of fear. “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” And he must first be able to stand for himself.
Martin Luther King Jr.
You’ve heard “I Have a Dream”, but have you read his 10 Commandments for Social Change? From a prison cell in Birmingham Alabama, Dr. King penned the following pledge for his followers to take:
I hereby pledge myself—my person and body—to the nonviolent movement. Therefore I will keep the following ten commandments:
1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2. Remember always that the non—violent movement seeks justice and reconciliation — not victory.
3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
10.Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.
I sign this pledge, having seriously considered what I do and with the determination and will to persevere.
Are you willing to take the pledge? I’d urge any fledgling social justice warrior to ponder the commandments before taking action.
I don’t think that Jesus was teaching Christianity, Jesus was teaching kindness, love, concern, and peace. What I tell people is don’t be Christian, be Christ-like. Don’t be Buddhist, be Buddha-like. -Dr. Wayne Dyer in ‘The Power of Intention’.
George Benedict Zabelka blessed the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Upon seeing the horrendous destruction and human suffering in Nagasaki caused by his blessed bomb, he converted to nonviolence.
The bible is a polarizing topic, but let me cherry-pick the commandments of Jesus:
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Seriously, what would Jesus do?
The Man In The Mirror
How can you “love thy neighbour as thyself” if you don’t even have a conversation with your neighbor?
And when you do have a conversation with your physical and digital neighbors do you “refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart?”
Do you contribute couteous words while striving to understand your brothers and sisters on this planet?
Can you say with compassion that the person you disagree with may be doing the best that they can with what they have?
Are you acting from your best self when you pass that driver going 5 below the speed limit, or are you being a reactive reptilian?
Malcolm X said:
“Don’t be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn’t do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn’t know what you know today.”
Let’s remember the words and actions of the leaders who lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom for all.
Let’s start with the injustices of the man in the mirror before pointing our finger at the injustices of others.