Join an in-depth conversation on Wednesday, March 29th about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” speech — days prior to the 50th anniversary of that underrecognized but historic speech. On April 4, 1967, Dr. King addressed an estimated 3,000 members of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam (CALC), and dramatically linked the struggle for racial & economic justice in the United States with the U.S. wars in Southeast Asia:
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
The March 29th national call hosted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation will feature four distinguished speakers: Dr. Lili Baxter, Ms. Aljosie Harding, Rev. Anthony Grimes, and Rev. Phil Lawson:
- Rev. Phillip Lawson learned about nonviolence as a teenager in the 1950s and he immediately stepped into the U.S. civil rights and anti-war movements. Phil served as a young organizer with Seminarians for Integration and CALC, and during that time was ordained as United Methodist clergy. He participated in a controversial FOR-USA peace delegation to North Vietnam in 1970, during which he received international media attention when in Hanoi he called on African Americans to see the Vietnamese as their “brothers and sisters.” Upon returning to the U.S., Phil was denounced as a “traitor” and was removed from his ministerial appointment. He later served as pastor of multiple congregations, most recently in Richmond CA. Among his diverse multi-faith justice work in recent decades, Phil cofounded — with his brother Rev. James Lawson and Dr. Vincent Harding (primary author of Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech) — the National Council of Elders.
- Dr. Liliane Kshensky Baxter served for many years on the staff of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Lili has dedicated her life to confronting structural violence and to organizing younger generations toward applying the principles and practices of nonviolent social change. An educator and trainer who has taught at Emory University and other institutions, Lili retired this month after many years as director of the Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education, housed at the Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum in Atlanta GA. Lili has also served in several leadership positions in FOR’s global network, including as president of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and chairperson of FOR-USA’s National Council.
- Aljosie Aldrich Harding‘s life work has been as a teacher, researcher, librarian, organizer, and activist. The mother of three, grandmother of eight, and auntie to numerous young people across the United States, her passion is spiritual eldering–nurturing young people and families to continue the work of building a just society. Using her skills, experiences, and relationships, she engages in dialogues with families, groups, and organizations across the country to encourage and support the work of creating “a country that does not yet exist.” She continues the work that she shared with her co-worker, partner, and beloved late husband, Vincent Harding. Aljosie Harding identifies as a builder of networks, a “pollinator.”
- Rev. Anthony Grimes serves as FOR-USA’s director of campaigns and strategy. As a millennial activist and organizer, Anthony was mentored by Vincent Harding as a theological student and emerging movement leader, prior to Dr. Harding’s death in 2014. Anthony founded the Denver Freedom Riders, a grassroots movement launched after the death of Michael Brown, Jr. in August 2014 to develop the leadership of young people of color in Denver CO to challenge and confront modern-day expressions of systemic racial and economic injustice. Since joining FOR’s national staff in late 2015, Anthony has spoken, trained, and mobilized on behalf of the Fellowship’s intersectional engagement of the Movement for Black Lives, Palestinian solidarity, immigrant & refugee rights, Standing Rock, Afro-Colombian human rights, and more.
This public national call on Wednesday, March 29th at 3:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. CT / 1:30 p.m. MT / 12:30 p.m. PT / 10:30 a.m. HT) will be hosted via Zoom, an audio-video platform that can be accessed by phone, tablet, or computer. Register now to access the call-in details for this free, public conversation.