Remarks from Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center staff and former student given at the Barbara Lee and Elihu Harris Lecture Series
Today, many of us believe a myth about political power – that it is far away, out of reach, durable, long-lasting, and unchanging. We see it all the time in the news headlines on the climate crisis, another corporation dumping oil into the sea, another corporation putting pollutants into the air. We see it in the headline of another school shooting, more school children lost to gun violence. We see it in the headlines of war causing more war. But it’s a myth that political power is unchanging because when we feel like there is no hope, hope belongs in our hands.
We have fourteen months to keep hope alive. We have until November 2024 to make the biggest decision of our lives – whether we allow fascism to continue to rise or whether we, the people, rise. We have until November 2024 to figure out how we put down our distractions, how we prioritize, and figure out what’s important to us because this battle between dark and light is the most important thing in our lives. We all have more time in a day than we know to phone bank, knock on people’s doors, write letters to voters in swing states, wave signs on street corners, and most importantly, cast our ballots and get other people to do the same.
The battle between dark and light won’t be won by words alone but by physical conduct. The physical conduct of mobilizing, energizing, and organizing. Where it seems like there is no light, we are the beacons of light because political power is not unchanging, it’s not durable, it’s not long-lasting, it’s fragile. It depends on each one of us to take hold of it and to make the decision with our own hands because these hands change. We have the power to change things. So let’s do it – protect and promote democracy.