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Solidarity and action: Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021


On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we honor all local peacebuilders.

  • Published

    13 January 2021
  • Written by

    Peace Direct

The U.S. civil rights movement, and its most recognized leader Martin Luther King Jr., showed us the power of nonviolence to transform society and advance greater justice for all. Today, that same urgency has never been stronger in the U.S. and around the world.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day enables us to honor all those working to advance human rights, social justice and peace through nonviolent action. Even as the U.S. again faces an historic racial reckoning and the threat of more violence and conflict, we are recommitting ourselves to building peace through nonviolent change. Here are just a few ways you can join us.

Act near you

Each year, MLK Day is observed as a day of service. How do people find initiatives they can support? How do organizations develop partnerships?

One place to start is our analysis and mapping website, Peace Insight. There, you can find thousands of organizations highlighted around the globe, including in the United States, working to promote justice and build lasting peace. You also can use the map to get to know local peacebuilding organizations and contact them to volunteer in your community on MLK Day.

 Add your organization to the map

Recognize and support local efforts for racial justice

Last fall, we asked local activists and changemakers how to address racism in the United States. A resounding message was that the work of local organizations on issues like criminal justice reform, bail reform, social justice, racial justice and peacebuilding, needs to be recognized and supported more by other organizations, governments and donors. As King himself said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle.” We call for greater and sustained support for the work of local groups on the frontlines of nonviolent movements for peace and justice, whose efforts and struggles often go unnoticed.

Read more recommendations to eliminate racism and build peace in the U.S. in our report.

Educate yourself and others about the power of nonviolence

The history and future of nonviolence is overshadowed by histories of war and violence. In fact, research shows that nonviolent movements are twice as effective at leading to more lasting democratic societies than armed conflict.

Spend time learning about the power of nonviolence and sharing your knowledge with others. Check out this inspiring new film, “The Third Harmony”, by nonviolence scholar Michael Nagler.

Make inclusion the norm

As the U.S. faced heightened conflict and violence during this election cycle, we asked peacebuilders in other countries how to prevent and mitigate electoral violence. Engage trusted community leaders to diffuse violence, they said. Report hate speech and misinformation on social media. Share stories of cooperation, unity, and resilience so that inclusion becomes the norm in society.

There is much work still to be done to recommit ourselves and our communities to nonviolent change and healing in the U.S. and beyond. Today and every day, we urge all Americans to join us in this work. Support your community, your neighbors, your friends and loved ones to believe in and work toward a peaceful future.

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