Early in the planning for my event with Dr. Bernice King, people wondered why I just didn’t fly there by myself to do the event. I went through a great deal of stress to get most of the students of the Living Water School (and I also invited Cornerstone Schools of DC) to Atlanta. We were also joined by Liberty Classical who are in Atlanta! It was all worth it! In my heart, I knew that her presence and words of wisdom would be something to really minister to the hearts of the young people. I kept thinking that I’d heard that Dr. King was in youth ministry at one time and I felt that she would have a heart for the youth. My instinct was correct, but even more, she ministered to me.
Choosing to be an advocate for Classical education AND for Biblical racial healing based on telling the truth of Black history and its connection to human history, has me in a very isolating place. Oftentimes there are experiences that I have that are hurtful. It takes daily prayer to seek supernatural strength to respond to these moments (and I get it from all sides) in a godly way. My soul gets weary sometimes. Dr. King shared a story that was meant to be a response to a question from a student. When she told the story, it took everything within me to keep my composure because her words spoke directly to my soul and strengthened me in ways too intense to describe.
I need the world to understand the humility and beauty of Dr. Bernice King. A student from Cornerstone asked her about her most courageous moment. While we were on the stage, she told the story of when she was a senior in high school and another student tried to fight her. In a flash she had to make a decision of whether to fight the girl or resist. She heard her mother’s voice say, “Someone has to break the chain of violence.” Because she chose not to fight the girl, she did not suffer the consequences the other girl did. What a powerful lesson for those students! What a powerful lesson for ALL of us. She touched the students’ lives forever, I believe, but this word was for the adults too! We do not have to respond to everything from a place of anger. Someone has to be the one to break the chain of anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, and violence.
The work of Martin Luther King, now carried on by Dr. Bernice King and the King family is not just some weak message of “everyone just be peaceful.” The amount of strength it takes to respond to racial hurt from a place of peace, wisdom and effective problem solving is so powerful. Her message of nonviolent activism is still relevant and so necessary today. I listened to Dr. King share her story, and after ALL that she has gone through, it gave me hope. If after the pain and loss she has gone through in her life she can still tell a child, “Someone has to be the one to break the chain of violence”, then she is speaking from a place of experience that we ALL can learn from. She knows that, no matter what, this path of peace, love, forgiveness, truth and unity is the only process that really brings lasting change.
We must not grow weary in well doing. We must be grateful that we still have the treasure of Dr. Bernice King with us, to show us how to continue the work of her parents in creating an authentic Beloved Community. The DREAM is still possible and we can only see it fully come to fruition by living out the principles MLK sought to teach all of us. We may not always agree with one another. Each of our worldviews and human experiences may clash with our perceptions of the human story, but if we keep coming together in loving and civil discourse, healing will happen.