Latter-day Saint Life

How to be a creative activist, according to Martin Luther King III

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Martin Luther King Jr. III addressing students at Brigham Young University on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.
Source: screenshot

On May 4, 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our goal is to create a ‘beloved community’ and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.” In this week’s forum address at Brigham Young University, Dr. King's son, human rights advocate Martin Luther King III, reemphasized his father’s goal in building a global family and united humanity.

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“My father was once a young person with many of the same dreams and insecurities young people have today,” King explained. “In the passage to adulthood, every young person comes to a crossroads of moral decision. You can succumb to the temptations of our materialistic society and look out for your narrow personal interests and not much else. But today, I want to challenge [you] to choose the higher, more courageous calling of creative activism.”

King gave several ideas for engaging in “creative activism,” including:

  • Embracing your global family
  • Acknowledging that anyone and everyone can make a difference
  • Understanding the importance of nonviolence
  • Serving others, including being more in tune with the struggles of others
  • Fostering inclusiveness
  • Cultivating compassion
  • Thinking critically

“Arise and answer the call,” King declared, “Just as an earlier generation of young people rose up, answered the call of history and helped to win the historic victories of the modern civil rights movement. The torch of leadership is being passed to your generation, and the world is counting on you to light the way forward to a brighter future.”

Dallin Christensen, a graduate student at BYU, left the address feeling inspired to do more. “His suggestions and ideas were really compelling. I love that he encouraged everyone to serve others. A lot of the things he said are applicable in more general scenarios, but my takeaway was that small and simple things—the basics like service, compassion, love—can make a big difference in the grand scheme of things and should be a more of a conscious priority in our everyday living.”

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