Coretta Scott King Reflects on Working Toward Peace
We should dare to dream of a world where no child lives in fear of war or suffers the ravages of militarism. Instead of spending more than two billion dollars a day on the arms race, as the governments of the world do now, we must invest in human and economic development,
so that no one has to live in poverty. We must project a bold vision of
a world where valuable resources are no longer squandered on the instruments of death and destruction, but are creatively harnessed for economic development and opportunity.
Let's dare to dream of a Beloved Community where starvation, famine, hunger, and malnutrition will not be tolerated because the
civilized community of nations won't allow it. Instead of five hundred million people going to bed hungry every night, as is now the case, in the Beloved Community every human being would be well nourished.
We should dare to dream of a world being reborn in freedom,
justice, and peace, a world that nurtures all of its precious children and protects them with compassion and caring. In such a Beloved Community, every child will be enrolled in a good school that has all of the resources needed to teach them to love learning. Young people will be able to get as much education as their minds can absorb and a full range of cultural opportunities to enrich their spirits.
In the Beloved Community, conflicts between nations will be resolved peacefully. Dictators will be replaced, not by civil war and terrorism, but by organized nonviolent movements that will insure that freedom, human rights, and dignity will be honored under all flags.
Instead of religious and racial violence and wars between nations, there will be interreligious, interracial, and international solidarity based on tolerance and respect for all cultures. With such a commitment, we will not only reduce cultural conflict, but also create a global community where a new vision of unity in faith can prevail.
We must find a way to tap the tremendous healing power of faith to promote a higher level of cross-cultural understanding and cooperation, which can help rid the world of war and violence. Even as we worship
in many languages and call our common creator by a host of different names, let the people of every religion now make room in their hearts
for interfaith brotherhood and sisterhood for the sake of humanity.
All of the world's great problems-the struggles for self-determination and human rights, stopping war, halting the arms race, checking the exploitation of multinational corporations, and confronting the global environmental crisis-must be addressed by nonviolent movements.
Thus, twenty-five Nobel Peace Prize laureates have joined together in affirming that the first decade of the new century will be a decade for peace and nonviolence, and the first year of the twenty-first century will be devoted to nonviolence training and education.
As my husband, Martin Luther King Jr., said in a challenge he issued in 1967, "I suggest that the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence become immediately a subject for study and for serious implementation in every field of human conflict, and by no means excluding the relations between nations." And as Mohandas K. Gandhi, who inspired Martin, echoed, "we should train for nonviolence with the fullest faith in its
Both Gandhi and my husband understood that the great advantage of nonviolence is that its success does not depend on the integrity of political leaders. It depends on the courage and commitment of people of goodwill.
To meet the challenge of the Nobel laureates, we must join together in creating a nonviolent movement to achieve peace with justice that spans the globe. With courage and determination, we must sound the knell for the end of fear, apathy, and indifference to human suffering and proclaim a new century of hope, a century of protest and nonviolent resistance to injustice and repression throughout the nation and around the world.
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, we have an historic opportunity for a great global healing and renewal. If we will accept the challenge of nonviolent activism with faith, courage, and determination, we can bring this great vision of a world united in peace and harmony from a distant ideal into a glowing reality.