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Intellect

Forum: The beloved community

Martin Luther King III, lawyer and American human rights advocate, delivered Tuesday’s forum address. He spoke on the principles that support his father’s vision of a “beloved community.”

King defined a beloved community as a group of people that could come together to solve any social issue, division or struggle.

As we adopt a deeply rooted mindset of the beloved community, “we will lift our nation to a greater and more noble destiny. And with this commitment,” King insisted, “we will see the dawning of a luminous new era of hope and opportunity; shared prosperity and brotherhood and sisterhood will reign supreme.”

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But a beloved community and united nation are not created overnight or without effort.

“Creating the beloved community is about bridging the gaps between the haves and have-nots with real opportunities,” King said.“It’s about creating more of that precious commodity that we call hope – real hope – for the forgotten, disadvantaged and marginalized citizens of our communities, regardless of their race.”

King believes that several actions can play a large role in fostering a beloved community:

Embrace your global family
“Our concept of family must transcend distinctions of race, religion, culture and even national boundaries,” said King.

Adopting this view will help us develop a genuine love for others and create connections where obstacles of distrust and bitterness previously existed.

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“Love can break down the most formidable of barriers and overcome the most difficult of obstacles in interpersonal, intergroup and international relationships."
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Realize that everyone can make a difference
King acknowledged that many people feel that there aren't great leaders like his father, Martin Luther King, Jr., anymore.

But he reassured audience members that leaders aren’t successful because they’re perfect. “My father was once a young person with many of the same dreams and insecurities young people have today,” King explained.

Nevertheless, we can’t let our insecurities or excuses hold us back. “All of you here today can become champions of civil and human rights,” King asserted. “All of you can make a difference!”

Understand the value of nonviolence
Nonviolence, said King, is a powerful tool for creating beloved communities, as well as molding leaders.

Understanding the philosophy behind nonviolence provides us with the perspective, conflict resolution skills and maturity we need to be successful leaders.

“Studying nonviolence will give you a greater sense of wholeness and meaning in your lives.”

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Serve humankind
Service humbles us and helps us make an impact on our communities.

“Making service a way of life,” King explained, “challenges us to put away our childish things and reach out to help the poor and oppressed, the disadvantaged, downtrodden and broken-hearted people of our communities.”

Center yourself on inclusiveness
Involving everyone in our service efforts provides us with a diverse group of people with a variety of personalities, experiences and talents that can provide solutions that unify rather than divide.

“We need you to create a critical mass of active visionaries — people of all races, religions and cultural groups who not only believe that the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr., is achievable but who are also ready to work and sacrifice and suffer,” said King.

Carrying on Martin Luther King Jr.’s “beloved community” may seem intimidating, but King urged listeners to embrace this calling.

“This is your time and your appointment,” he encouraged.

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“Arise and answer the call, just as an earlier generation of young people rose up, answered the call of history and helped to win the historic victories of the modern civil rights movement. The torch of leadership is being passed to your generation, and the world is counting on you to light the way forward to a brighter future.”
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King ended with some parting advice for how students can make the most of their university experience to grow as leaders and accomplish these goals:

  • Be prepared to think critically
  • Become more observant
  • Be a better listener
  • Attune your eyes, ears and heart to the struggles of others
  • Cultivate compassion and understanding as elements of their character

Next Devotional
Various BYU performing groups and the award-winning BYU grad Nathan Pacheco will comprise next week’s devotional, to celebrate BYU Homecoming week.

The opening ceremony will also be broadcast live on BYUtv, BYUtv.org, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio 107.9 FM and SiriusXM 143.

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