“When you are right you cannot be too radical”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr day and people from all over are honoring him for his courage, determination and dedication to equality. It seems like his insights on social justice, compassion for all species, and government repression are often over-shadowed by his eloquent and inspirational “I Have a Dream” speech. Martin Luther King Jr was adamantly against war, violence and poverty. He has even spoken in defense of non-human animals:
“One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.”
This is also a day to figure out how to move the principles of King’s words and deeds beyond annual mentions on his birthday to an everyday occurrence. Dr King would have spoken out unequivocally against the inherent cruelty and violence non-human animals go through just as he did against an unjust war. His wife and son are both carrying on his legacy of non-violence and equality for all by living vegan everyday.
Ironically, a sweeping law that brands animal activists as “terrorists”, entitled the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), was passed 3 years ago- on the day of the “groundbreaking” ceremony for the Martin Luther King Jr memorial on the national mall. It is important to reflect on the very essence for which Dr. King stood: nonviolence, equality, and justice. We need to start recognizing institutionalized violence and speciesist attitudes in our actions. Living vegan is just the first step. From there, it is essential that we stay on top of new information, incorporate it into projects in class or at our jobs, and get active!