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April 4 Event–Breaking the Silence on Our Culture of Violence

April 4, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Our "Breaking the Silence" conversation series.

On April 4, 2023, the 56th anniversary of his historic Riverside Church speech in 1967, the King and Breaking Silence Coalition held a conversation “Breaking the Silence on our culture of violence.” It was the second in our series of  conversations.

Dr. King called for a radical revolution in values against the triple evils of racism, militarism and materialism.

What does this revolution look like in our culture of violence today?

You can view the Meeting chat here.

Our panelists included:

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Highlander Center

Loretta Ross, Smith College, 2022 MacArthur Fellow

Rev. Alba Onofrio, Soulforce

PG Watkins, The Boggs Center



We appreciate your point of view. Directly and indirectly Rev King's speech touches on those points.  We hope you will join us on June 14 when our Decolonization webinar will include discussion of the Papal Doctrine of Discovery and its ongoing impact.  [Frank]


I certainly agree that capitalism and democracy are at odds with each other. [Don]

I agree that the peace movement must direct appeals to our US administration and Congress to 1.) withdraw from NATO, 2) Renew the nuclear weapons agreements between the US and Russia. We have no control over what the Russians or Ukrainians do and we have little control over the Biden Administration or Congress but we must use the power we do have. 

  1. Ellen Barfield: The speech is still so powerful. I remember reading the Riverside Speech on the banks of the Tigris River in Baghdad on Dr King's birthday 15 Jan, 2003, with an international group of the Iraq Peace Team hoping still to head off the looming US attack. Oh my.
  2. Karen Richter: Chrissy Stonebraker Martinez, Thank you for the SURJ link It feels good to have homework. 🥰☮️ https://surj.org/

Chrissy Stonebraker Martinez (they/them): Karen, you can thank another community member who forwarded it to me! Also look up, Becoming Abolitionist by Derecka Purnell. There are so many great resources around this topic coming out regularly. I'm looking forward to Mariame Kaba and Kelly Hayes' new book, Let This Radicalize You

3. Chiquita Williams: Even King distanced himself from communism


A.) Don Bryant (he/him): It was a different time then when King distanced himself.

B.) King and Breaking Silence Coalition: The FBI & others said that Dr. King was a Communist. When you read Dr. King’s speeches toward the end of his life, he spoke out against the capitalism practiced here in the US. His calling our country out on its Triple Evils, Militarism, Materialism and Racism. Many of us believe this is why Dr. King was assassinated!


4. For those in the Christian churches, we have to stop talking about military soldiers in the same way we talk about Jesus as a substitutionary sacrifice.  I.e., they go and die so that we don't have to.  We send them with zero thought.  And then, we call them heroes.  I am a 20 year military veteran.  I know.

5. Vietnam and Cuba had close relations with Ukraine and have not supported Russia.  No one characterizes Russia and Putin as communist.   A significant sector of the right, including Trump and DeSantis are carrying water for the Russians because they see them as an expression of white nationalism against the morally corrupt and sexually confused US and Europe.  I agree that NATO's expansion is a provocative factor.  But remember that Russia and China for reasons of their own strategic interests provided indispensable aid to Vietnam against US aggression.