This is definitely a long speech to read but it contains some real treasure. Here is the first quote that stuck me.
The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermath of violence however, are emptiness and bitterness. This is the thing I’m concerned about. Let us fight passionately and unrelentingly for the goals of justice and peace, but let’s be sure that our hands are clean in this struggle. Let us never fight with falsehood and violence and hate and malice, but always fight with love, so that, when the day comes that the walls of segregation have completely crumbled in Montgomery. that we will be able to live with people as their brothers and sisters.
Oh, my friends, our aim must be not to defeat Mr. Engelhardt, not to defeat Mr. Sellers and Mr. Gayle and Mr. Parks. Our aim must be to defeat the evil that’s in them. But our aim must be to win the friendship of Mr. Gayle and Mr. Sellers and Mr. Engelhardt. We must come to the point of seeing that our ultimate aim is to live with all men as brothers and sisters under God and not be their enemies or anything that goes with that type of relationship. And this is one thing that Ghana teaches us: that you can break aloose from evil through nonviolence, through a lack of bitterness. Nkrumah says in his book: "When I came out of prison, I was not bitter toward Britain. I came out merely with the determination to free my people from the colonialism and imperialism that had been inflicted upon them by the British. But I came out with no bitterness." And, because of that, this world will be a better place in which to live.
I can only share from personal experience, but I know that when I first came out and tasted injustice, my first reaction was anger and bitterness. I had just graduated from Seminary and coming out pretty much ended years of work and dreams. I wonder how many people wandering in these forums carry vestiges of anger and bitterness toward Christians and Christianity, or your oppressor in general?
Dr. King calls us to something else. Nonviolence motivated by love, not bitterness. Can we love ________ as they hatefully oppose our sexual orientation or gender identity while working to defeat the evil in their hearts? Can we live with them as brothers and sisters in beloved community when we win our freedom? Does our activism make this possible?
That is a hard, hard calling, but I find it so liberating.