Rev. Dr. King’s “Breaking Silence” prophetic speech is an invocation to examine the root causes of inequality and violence in U.S. society. His profound statements invite us to examine what we hold sacred, what deeply resonates with us, and evokes our aspirations. To fully absorb the meaning, learnings and context requires reflection, and collective dialogue, which are more likely to create coordinated and more powerful actions.
Convening a local gathering gives us the opportunity to again hear Dr. King’s words through
the intergenerational voices of local activists and organizers, to connect people locally and
continue to build coalitions which can work on the intersectional issues of racism,
materialism, and militarism, to achieve needed transformations.
● Religious gatherings: Places of worship are natural environments for readings. Some religious groups may be able to meet in person, other services may be online. Because April 4, 2021, is a religious holiday, we are suggesting that local readings
take place during April.
● Schools, classes, universities, technical institutions: Teachers can use the speech as a basis for classroom presentations and discussions. Students can invite other students to join them.
● Labor unions: Workers gathered together or at a union meeting can read sections of the speech.
● Civil rights, peace organizations and advocacy groups: Local advocacy groups might make the reading, or excerpts, part of local meetings or actions.
● Libraries: Convene a reading at your local library if it is open to the public and can hold in-person events.
● Locations where racial violence has occurred: Horrendously, numerous places around the country are sites where police and other racist violence have taken lives and caused harm. Holding readings at those memorial places would be fitting.
● Racist memorials, statues, buildings and streets with racist names: Remembering that Dr. King’s warnings about racism, militarism, and an unjust and inequitable economy may make events at military bases, Confederate monuments, buildings or streets named after racists appropriate places for readings that may contribute to campaigns to remove them or change their names.
● Locations of hope such as the Highlander Center in Tennessee, The Beloved Community Center in Greensboro, N.C., the Boggs School in Detroit, a thriving Black owned urban or Southern farm, houses of worship or similar could be considered.
● Places of despair and degradation might be included, such as, Mankato, Minnesota where 38 Dakota Sioux were publicly executed by hanging on Dec 26, 1862, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Florida, Tewa Pueblo land adjacent to the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab, military bases named after Confederate generals, the Pentagon itself and other similar sites.
● Jails, prisons, detention centers: Sharing the speech with people who are incarcerated and their families might be done to highlight a prison experiencing high Covid19 death and infection rates or other issues. Perhaps prison chaplains would participate and devote time for a reading.
● In your home or outside in your neighborhood: Invite people to your home if it is safe to convene or arrange for friends and family to gather outside.
● Online: Use one of the many digital platforms to inform your network of friends, family and activists to share parts of the speech, or listen to the audio recording of the speech on the website.
● Be creative, use your imagination
Please submit your event so that we can share it out!