This Monday, Americans will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and commemorate the life and legacy of an extraordinary individual. Dr. King is an inspiration to people around the world seeking peace in divided communities. During the civil rights movement, Dr. King advocated that diversity and difference are assets to American success, not a detriment. Dr. King promoted the idea that differences in culture, religious practice, and skin color don’t matter; and Americans are united by shared values and common humanity.
Dr. King’s ideas are a source of inspiration for Boston Partners for Peace. Throughout his life, Dr. King embodied the values of peace and tolerance. Through their grassroots initiatives, our partner NGOs choose peacebuilding tactics in the hopes of creating lasting change and building trust between Jews and Arabs.
For example, activists from Women Wage Peace proposed new legislation in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) that calls for review of non-violent political solutions to peace. Kav Mashve works to support and integrate Arab citizens into senior positions in the workforce. Similarly, Kids4Peace, The Parents Circle, the Arava Institute and many other NGOs create opportunities for Arabs and Jews to get to know one another, recognize one another’s humanity, and eliminate difference as a barrier to inclusion.
Our grassroots peacebuilders know their efforts could create systematic changes in attitudes and government policies in the coming years. If we really want to continue Dr. King’s legacy, we must help organizations fighting for a better future for everyone. As King famously said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”