“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Martin Luther King Day, let’s all think about how we can contribute to fighting injustice. Dr. King’s legacy often focuses on his efforts as peace-maker. Many forget that King’s struggles were against political and societal tyranny. He was thought of as a radical and an agitator in his time. To truly honor his legacy, it is incumbent upon us all to fight against tyranny in its many forms.

This year, more than ever, it’s a time to stand up to bigotry. It’s a time to oppose Trump’s appointments, like civil rights opponents Jeff Sessions and Ben Carson. As Trump tries to push our country towards increased incarceration, educational disparity, intolerance, and indifference towards the impoverished, we all need to push back. Here are some thoughts about what each of us can do.

Be Vocal. Call your Representatives and Senators. Make sure that your voice is heard on the issues that matter to you. And be part of the general dialogue about justice. Share articles about issues like racial injustice, mass incarceration, police brutality, and wrongful convictions. In doing so, we work together to create an environment where the progress made will be harder to undo and the reforms still needed cannot be swept under the rug. So, keep it up. If you like our content, subscribe to our blog and share it. Or stay informed through The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Equal Justice Initiative, The Marshall Project, The Exoneration Project, or one of the numerous other organizations with strong content about fighting injustice.

And when you hear people spouting the bigotry that has already become so prevalent in the Age of Trump, be strong enough to stand up for what is right. Do not let hate become the norm. Keep talking about oppression, equality, and justice. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” Don’t be silent.

Get involved. Even if you have limited time, there are still many ways that anyone can make a difference. Here are just a few:

  • Write and/or call your legislators. Tweet. March. Write letters to the editor. Be heard.
  • Contact media outlets with positive feedback for coverage of justice issues and negative feedback when they miss the boat. We need to keep the conversation going strong.
  • Donate books to incarcerated people through organizations like Liberation Library.
  • Volunteer with a prison re-entry or reform organization.
  • For your next book group, suggest a book about social justice and get the conversation started. An amazing place to start is Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. It’s a great read.
  • Volunteer at a local prison. Many prisons need people to help with literacy, job skills, parenting skills, and basic money management. Donating just a couple of hours a week can make a tremendous difference, while offering you a unique opportunity for connection and meaningful contribution. Or volunteer for a local organization that helps children visit or stay in touch with a parent in prison.
  • Donate. Find a social justice organization with a mission that overlaps with your passion and make a donation. The fighters for justice are far too often underfunded, understaffed, overworked, and without enough resources to fight all of the battles that need to be fought. Support them.

According to civil rights hero and Congressman John Lewis , “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.” He has courageously done so, standing up to Trump. Now is our moment to join him. Let’s all make sure we are acting to further the legacy of Dr. King and making our country a more just place.

 

In 1965, John Lewis (far right) with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (center) leads a march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to protest the denial of voting rights to African Americans. (Photo by Steve Schapiro/Corbis)

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