Building a Beloved Community
By AmeriCorps Member Morgan Russel, Linden McKinley STEM Academy
One of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most compelling visions is that of a Beloved Community. A Beloved Community is one in which people or varying races and nationalities can come together united, recognizing that we are all interconnected. In 1958, Dr. King quoted, “[Our] ultimate goal is integration which is genuine intergroup and interpersonal living.”
Integration, versus desegregation, is not something that can be achieved via legislation. Integration requires changing hearts and attitudes. It means using love to create personal and social relationships across legal barriers and boundaries traditionally present in society.
The path to the Beloved Community is not an easy one – it requires venturing down the strenuous trail of reconciliation among people who have been or are in conflict. Dr. King spoke out his ultimate goal for the Beloved Community saying that this requires transforming opponents into friends. Decades later, this is still relevant today. How is it that we can look at each other and see more differences than similarities? Why are differing skin colors, religious affiliations, and languages still viewed as something to be feared rather than embraced?
At City Year, one of our core values is Inclusivity. Inclusivity requires “actively embracing differences as vital assets that enrich our community, spur transformation, and strengthen the ability to make a positive impact.” In these modern day times of trials and tribulations, let’s set out on a journey of achieving the Beloved Community. The answer may be simple but definitely not easy: love. Love your neighbor, no mater who they are or where they come from.