BY MARY HLADKY,
UFPJ COORDINATING COMMITTEE MEMBER & MEMBER OF MILITARY FAMILIES SPEAK OUT
“To come together under the banner of peace forces us to challenge all forms of injustice.”
Former Congressman Ron Dellums from Oakland, Ca, a champion of the peace movement, gave an inspiring speech, challenging antiwar, peace and justice activists to unite under the umbrella of peace to change the world.
In that speech, Mr. Dellums told us how Martin Luther King’s 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech and King’s subsequent visit to Berkeley, CA influenced his entire life.
Mr. Dellums highlighted several points from King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech:
- When King was questioned as to why he addressed the war in Vietnam, in spite of pressure to stick to civil rights issues, he said “I cannot segregate my moral concerns”. He saw the Vietnam War as unjust, illegal and immoral. This clearly defined for Dellums that we must challenge all forms of injustice.
- King told us to go out and change the world – we need leaders who have the audacity and courage to risk attempting to shape a new consensus. Dellums stated we have an obligation and responsibility to educate people helping them to understand the interconnectedness, the relationships between and among all issues of oppression and injustice.
- King made a powerful statement that changed Dellums life forever “Peace is more than simply the absence of war; it is the presence of justice”. Dellums says the peace movement is the ultimate movement, because to come together under the banner of peace forces us to challenge all forms of injustice.
Mr. Dellums said that young people have asked “What is the difference between your generation, when you were our age, and our generation”. He responded with King’s message to his generation to raise their voices in the name of peace and justice and equality because it was the right thing, the moral thing, the ethical thing, the principled thing to do.
Today things are different. This generation must do it because it’s now the only thing to do. It has now become the imperative. Dellums stated it is not that this generation does not get it; it’s that they don’t always hear it. But when they do hear it, they get it. If they stand up, they will change America and change the world for their children and their children’s children.
“Peace is more than the absence of war; It is the presence of justice.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.