Fighting Back With Our Hearts and Minds

Editor's Note:

A young writer invites us to follow Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s strategies of nonviolence resistance to racism in our efforts to seek justice today.

In 1965, Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of citizens marched from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery. This march occurred for African-Americans to have the right to vote. The march lasted from March 7th to March 25th, 1965. It was an act of nonviolence, which meant that they did not fight back physically, even though authorities attacked the citizens.

A year later Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about his beliefs to not use violence in the march in Washington. He advocated for the use of a peaceful demonstration with love and passion, in which these beliefs come by choice and from the heart. His methods can be effective against today's violence.

“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

In the 21st century, young people of color are targeted by police. For instance in December of 2015, a man named Mario Woods was shot to death because policemen thought he had a knife on him. After killing him and searching him, there was nothing on him that seemed to be a threat.

These type of crimes don't get cops put in jail; it gives them the belief that they can do it again. These are issues that still go on today. You may ask if we can stand up for ourselves, and the answer is yes we can. We don't need to do it violently.

Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested for refusing to leave the lunch counters that were for whites only. Rather than focusing on getting revenge in jail, King was busy making people understand why he was there, spending his time writing the “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” In this letter Dr. King defends the strategy of nonviolence resistance to racism.

King’s philosophy of nonviolence is a belief where people do not use their hands to fight. They use their minds and heart to stop their enemies from always being violent, through dialogue, peaceful protests, marches, and movements. This commitment has brought those who seek justice together to create communities that believe in love. This type of love is not your ordinary kind of love; this kind of love is called agape, which targets the root of violence rather than the people who create violence.

But you might ask if violence has gotten worse? Can we really use nonviolence to stop violent crimes such as police brutality? Some things we can do is come together and start an organization necessary to fight for people who died unwillingly and unexpectedly.

However, racism and violence have critically gotten worse, and we need to stand up for ourselves and let people hear our voices so we are not deprived of our rights.

In a recent football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys, the players kneeled; even the owners came and kneeled to prove to the President that the rights of black lives matter. This is a step to changing the world as far as this issue continues, players continue to kneel to prove their way of saying “no one will stop me from getting my rights.”

President Donald Trump has told America that a wall will be built to stop “illegal” immigration. These remarks and promises make our residents scared, and a president’s comments shouldn’t make people feel scared.

In order for people to hear our voices that his decisions aren't right, we can protest in a nonviolent way. If we fight back violently, we will look like the rest of the people who think it's okay to use violence. We will stand out if we only use our minds and our voices.

Mike Tinoco, a teacher at Yerba Buena High School, said “nonviolence helps solve problems by not replicating the problem, but by focusing on the root causes. It's about building beloved community, (re)generating relationships, cultivating love. It's a courageous act.”

With the violence that is going on today we need more people like Mike Tinoco to stand up and stop the violence

According to, Dr. King described in his first book, Stride Towards Freedom, The 6 Steps to Nonviolence. These principles encourage us to believe that this is the way of a beloved community

  • Principle 1: Nonviolence is the way of life for courageous people
  • Principle 2: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding
  • Principle 3: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people
  • Principle 4: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform
  • Principle 5: Nonviolence chooses love over hate
  • Principle 6: Nonviolence believes the world is on the side of justice

These principles can educate us to become a beloved community where we honor everyone's rights and humanity. So come with commitment and dignity to be a part of our beloved community and seek justice for all.

This story was first published by The Warrior Times.

The Warrior Times is Yerba Buena High School's student-run news publication that creates stories by the youth, for the youth.  The young people write passionately about issues occurring in their lives, communities, and the world.  Together, they are working toward elevating collective consciousness, compassion, and commitment to justice.

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