"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love."
— Martin Luther King Jr., "Where Do We Go From Here," 1967
Ashland's community celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. has become a tradition that gets bigger every year. The 2017 event on Monday — the 28th annual — promises to carry on that legacy.
This year's theme, "Power-Justice-Love for All," is taken from the passage above, from the 1967 speech King delivered to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's 11th annual convention in Atlanta. King described the tremendous progress made in the preceding decade, ending structural segregation that barred blacks from lunch counters, hotels, public parks and even libraries.
But he stressed that, as far as the nation had come, it still had far to go. And in asking, "Where do we go from here?" he turned from social discrimination to economic discrimination, and included all Americans living in poverty:
"There are forty million poor people here, and one day we must ask the question, 'Why are there forty million poor people in America?' And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth."
We are still grappling with economic inequality today, 50 years after that speech. May we, in King's words, "transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows."