For the 24th consecutive year, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Conference will create spaces for the community to share our stories and renew our commitment to the ideals that Dr. King held dear and believed deeply that this country could attain only by working together and acknowledging our shared history: ideals of equity, freedom, and self-determination.
The title of the 2022 conference is “An Inescapable Network of Mutuality: Creative Extremism for the Cause of Justice.” This theme is taken from the letter (1) Dr. King wrote while he was incarcerated at the Birmingham City Jail in the Spring of 1963. You may find the reference to extremism disturbing, as Dr. King did initially when his fellow clergy members applied that label to the nonviolent direct actions King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had taken in Birmingham at the request of the local branch of Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.
Upon reflection, Dr. King wrote that he “gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label.” He went on to ask, “So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?” In his letter, Dr. King was speaking directly to those he called “the White Moderate” admonishing them, and all of us, to shake loose of complacency and join “our brothers and sisters who have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful action.” Dr King’s call to nonviolent action for the cause of justice remains as relevant today as it did in 1963 – if not more so.
Building on the success of the 2021 Conference, the 2022 Conference will take place online over several days, January 13th – 15th. It will feature a range of presentation formats including performance art, films, and caucuses, in addition to standard workshop fare. As always, the Conference will be free and open to all. Clock hours will be available for teachers and continuing education units will be available for mental health professionals.
Current list of this year’s conference sponsors: Chuckanut Health Foundation, Group Health Foundation, Whatcom Community Foundation, PSE of WWU, Cascadia Deaf Nation, Steele Financial Services, WWU Foundation, Community Food Co-op, Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship, National Association of Social Workers-WA, WinkWink Boutique, Indivisible Bellingham, Bellingham Friends Meeting, Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, A1 DesignBuild, Village Books, Anonymous (2)
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