Martin Luther King Lecture 2022
“There is a type of constructive non-violent tension that is necessary for growth”
On the 7th of December, just before the International Human Rights Day, the annual Martin Luther King lecture was held at the Lighthouse, The Hague University of Applied Sciences. During this engrossing evening with inspiring guests, captivating live performances and powerful words, we reflected on the necessity of civil disobedience and the inspiring shapes it may have taken in the past and present.
How do you make injustice visible? How do you uncover the blind spot of the people for structural and institutional racism, without using violence? ‘Hello?! See and feel what happens and how that is!’. Martin Luther King jr. stimulated civil disobedience: remarkable actions that create uncomfortable and tense situations, and thus stimulate thought and confront the people. Peaceful and creative actions that try to navigate from confrontation to empathy and dialogue, with in the end, positive change.
The Martin Luther King speech was given by Clarice Gargard, journalist, programme-maker, filmmaker and writer. In her speech, ‘Why, resist?’, Clarice emphasized the core role of resistance and of knowing and respecting one’s self and history. Additionally, the revolutions happening worldwide, being ‘woke’, and the ‘cancel, accountability and call out culture’ were touched upon, while she also reflected on the road to liberation and transformation.
“You may well ask, “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, etc.? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored…. I have earnestly worked and preached against violent tension, but there is a type of constructive non-violent tension that is necessary for growth.”
(Martin Luther King jr., ‘Letter from the Birmingham Jail’, 1963)
- Maria Toko is a professional performer and creator in podium art, a public speaker, a manager, a community builder, a family-person. As the co-founder and former president of the student association Tribez, she sees the importance of self-love, empowerment and education in the black community. (photo: Maja Andersson)
- Singer-songwriter Jhilani Wijsman (@jhilanimusic) knows how to touch his audience with his guitar. Inspired by musicians such as Bill Withers and Beres Hammond, the ‘Hagenees’ has been performing on various stages and festivals since 2015, such as the Parkpop and Zeeheldenfestival. (photo: Raffaella Gargiulo)
- The winners of the Martin Luther King Performance competition 2022 were: Soraya Shawki (@aeyaros), U-Shine (@uchaindaniwatson) and Kershawn Rijssel (KMR) (@kmrspoken).
You can now watch the winning acts of the Martin Luther King Performance Competition 2022 below. You can find the script in Dutch and English here:
The Martin Luther King Lecture is an initiative of the Martin Luther King Lecture Foundation and is organised annually by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Justice & Peace. The 2022 edition was organised by Justice & Peace in cooperation with the The Hague University of Applied Science and the student association Tribez.