Martin Luther King: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King

I “do” public health because of the social justice elements that underpin the work.   During my time at the Community for Creative Non-Violence homeless shelter, I learned important lessons in fairness, right and wrong, and my role is in this movement as a white, privileged woman.

I re-read Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham a Jail as a tool for my own reflection as we confront racism in this country.  In my re-read, I reflected on how, in many ways, the work of public health intends (or should intend) to continue on the legacy of MLK.

This line particularly moves me: “Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in BirminghamInjustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

How are you agitating from the inside? How are you living the words of Martin Luther King?

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