Presented by:
Stevona Burk and Christina Jackson

Audience: Community, Educators, Human Rights / Social Justice Professionals, Young Adults (14+)        Workshop capacity: 30

This presentation requires attendees to examine their internal moral compass that centers on humanity by challenging their values to promote change within people with differing values within their social circles, workplaces, community, and home. It is essential for individuals to understand the purpose of daily inventory of their inner thoughts, values, and behaviors in order to dismantle racism with an actionable steps we can all take with our youth and children to build an anti-racist future that ends harm to black and brown people. The presenters will lead with informative concepts followed by breakout groups to discuss an action plan to address race collectively and return to share comments/thoughts as a larger group. 

Living in a complex, unsafe society where black and brown people continue to promote “constructive nonviolent tension” to express their concerns of injustice within communities, but their voices are dehumanized and silenced by individuals that are unconscious of their behaviors and who emulate White Supremacy. This is a public announcement to call out actionable change amongst our allies’ values and daily behaviors to have the ability to rise above harm and reframe these values as something we can all embrace into how we educate, parent, and engage with the next generation. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever” and our freedom will come by being a nonviolent extremist with love, meaning, and purpose. 

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has given us the “vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent, and determined action” by individuals we call our allies to continue to fight for black and brown people’s human rights for generations to come. This presentation intends for participants to assess and examine their internal behaviors and values Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to become an extremist for “preservation of injustice” or “extension of justice.” 

Breakout groups discussions will be inspired by MLK’s letter, asking attendees to ponder on the following prompts:

  • In MLK’s letter, he embraces the label of being an “extremist” by posing: “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 what way can we practice extremism for the extension of justice and the practice of love in our daily lives with our children? How might we explain or demonstrate this concept to our children?
  • MLK often expressed disappointment in the “white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice” – and thanked the “few white brothers in the South [who] have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it” – if you are white how can you demonstrate strong, persistent and determined action for kids of color? If you are a person of color, how has it been difficult for you to get white people to understand the oppression or marginalization that you or your kids may have experienced, and what kinds of actions do you wish they would take on your behalf?
  • Towards the end of his letter, MLK affirms that “it is just as wrong, or perhaps even more so, to use moral means to preserve immoral ends.”. What examples do we have in our schools and communities where accepted norms, morals, and values are preserving or elevating injustices or inequities for our children, and what role can you play in dismantling these?

We will create a space for authentic, compassionate conversations such that attendees will gain the awareness to recognize the internal values that have an impact on their behaviors, and how to change those behaviors in a way that leads to actionable change. Participants will have the opportunity to create an action plan for change based upon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s ideals as it pertains to being a human extremist by accepting their own values and behaviors courageously within a learning environment free of judgement, shame and bullying. 

Christina Jackson [She, Her] is an anti violent lover of all things living. Determined to be the voice for those who may not be able to use theirs. Advocate for fair housing, affordable childcare, racial equality, fathers rights, and a living wage. Family Champion with Generations Forward. 

Stevona Burks is a liaison for working, low-income families and parent leader with Generations Forward. Her goals are to break down societal stigmas associated with substance use disorders and mental health. She is committed to elevate and empower underrepresented groups of people by promoting compassion, motivation, self-worth, and love.