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A Message of Universal Love: Commemorating MLK Jr.

Message of Universal Love Commemorating MLK Jr.

In many of his speeches and sermons, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about love. He wasn’t talking about the romantic kind, though. King often used the term “agape,” an Ancient Greek word used to refer to the unconditional love of God for man, to talk about universal love for all people, regardless of race, religion, or circumstance.

We commemorate King on Jan. 21. It’s a celebration and a National Day of Service, so take the opportunity to honor King’s message of universal love. Here are three ways to put agape into practice.

PAY A VISIT TO A HISTORICAL SITE.

Immerse yourself in King’s message this month by visiting the places where these historic events occurred. Our nation is full of opportunities to become better acquainted with the birth of the civil rights movement, from the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, to Selma, Alabama, where protest marches were held in 1965. After all, if we don’t know our past, we are doomed to repeat it.

EDUCATE YOURSELF AND OTHERS ABOUT THE STRUGGLES PEOPLE HAVE FACED.

Learning about the experiences of others cultivates empathy. When you interact with someone across cultural or subcultural boundaries, it helps to reduce prejudice. Promote positive interactions in your community by hosting a film night or book club focused on the civil rights movement.

You can feature a movie like “Selma” or “13th.” For a book club, select an autobiography or biography that puts yourself in someone else’s shoes, like Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” or Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

SHARE THE MESSAGE OF NONVIOLENCE AND GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY.

At the center of King’s message was the principle of nonviolence. Consider how you can advocate for nonviolence in your community. You could donate your time or money to a local shelter for victims of abuse, or volunteer your home to foster abandoned pets. If you’re part of a PTA or another school organization, encourage students to put an end to bullying.

The Mix It Up program has anti-bullying lessons and activities that support King’s message. Take some time to reflect on Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision this month and take part in the universal message of love. Don’t we all want more of that?

Pezzano Mickey & Bornstein, LLP

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