Reflections from Martin Luther King Day Teach-in and Prayer Luncheon, North Central College, on January 17, 2023
by Carol Simler, Covenant Companion, member of Laudato Si’ Action Platform Circle
The title of the session intrigued me: “What’s love got to do with it?” Running through my mind was the Tina Turner song of the same name. And so I went to the teach-in ready to listen.
In her session, Rev. Dr. Geneace Williams, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager, City of Naperville, emphasized that it is still apparent that Dr. King saw love as a moral imperative. His beloved community was (and still is) impossibly absent in a love ethic. Dr. Williams believes that, to a great extent, the radical love King spoke about has yet to be realized.
Referring to Dr. King’s final book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community, Dr. Williams questioned if it is possible to define transformational change. She challenged us to use Dr. King’s profound ethics to “build relationships and lead with love.” In our confrontational society, is love a viable route in 2023 and beyond?
In his book, Dr. King explains that “a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is, in reality, a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all.”
The question that lingers for me is: Where do we go from here? I believe community must be our choice if democracy is to survive! In the chaos we have recently experienced comes the opportunity for rebirth, reimagining, and beginning anew. The time is now to build a beloved community anchored around redemption and reconciliation.
So, I urge you to embrace Dr. King’s message. How do we ‘show up’ in what we are doing every day? Are we willing to lead with love in building relationships and achieving transformational change? Do we finally believe that love has everything to do with it?