These MLK Quotes Highlight The Power Of Multiple Forms Of Protest

mlk jr being arrested by police
L. Graciella Maiolatesi
January 18, 2023

#1: “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

White supremacy inflicts violence on us yet demands we respond nonviolently. Although King advocated for a nonviolent approach, he made it clear that riots also have their rightful role and place in history.

#2: “Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.”

While nonviolence is a choice, there are multiple forms of protest. As MLK stated, it is up to each of us to decide which form of protest suits our convictions.

#3: "White Americans must recognize that justice for Black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society."

While some riots are just violent, Black-led riots will always be political because they directly and extremely challenge the status quo.

Obviously MLK deeply believed in nonviolent protests but he also understood nonviolence comes with sacrifice. Thousands of our ancestors and elders risked their jobs, safety, lives, and time to demand radical policy changes.

Anti-Blackness uses capitalism, job insecurity, inflation, and anti-labor union mindsets to discourage long term incentives for protesting.  We must become comfortable with responding in ways that create radical systemic change.

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