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Beloved Community


Beloved Community is a term coined by philosopher Josiah Royce to denote an ideal community. Royce founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation, “an interfaith organization committed to active nonviolence as a transforming way of life and as a means of radical change.”  FOR educates, trains, build coalitions, and engages in nonviolent and compassionate actions locally, nationally, and globally.

Beloved Community was used frequently by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to describe a society of justice, peace and harmony which can be achieved through nonviolence. In his speech The Birth of A New Nation, delivered in 1957, Dr. King said, “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community.”

The King Center website has a more extensive description of Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy and use of the phrase Beloved Community. The King Center embraces the conviction that “the Beloved Community can be achieved through an unshakable commitment to nonviolence.” As such, they also highlight on their website the Six Principles of Non-Violence.

Four decades later after Martin Luther King Jr. began using the phrase, Charles March wrote The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice, From the Civil Rights Movement to Today. From the book review, “Marsh traces the history of King’s vision over the past four decades, from the racial reconciliation movement in American cities to the intentional communities that church groups have founded. … the pursuit of the beloved community continues to foster racial unity and civic responsibility in a divided American culture. With The Beloved Community, Marsh lays out a exuberant new vision for Christian progressivism, and simultaneously reclaims the centrality of faith in the quest for social justice.”

Dr. King was one of the driving forces behind the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, which drew over a quarter-million people to the national mall. It was at this march that Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which cemented his status as a social change leader and helped inspire the nation to act on civil rights.

Fifty years later we as a nation are still in the process of realizing King’s dream of “transforming the jangling discords of our Nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”

Fifty years later Redding, CA will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of King’s I Have a Dream speech on August 24, 2013, in the shadow of continued racial unrest caused by the recent Trayvon Martin court decision. Discussion after the 5:30 PM dinner at First Church will be on how to take actions to make Redding, CA our beloved community.

What are your thoughts?

2 Responses to Beloved Community

  1. Rick Bonetti

    July 21, 2013 at

    The civil rights movement and Dr. King’s vision of a Beloved Community may not resonate as strongly in Shasta County as it would in the South or in the urban east, because of our demographics.

    According to the US Census, Shasta County, with some 179,000 residents, lacks the ethnic diversity of the rest of California.

    In terms of race, it is 81.8% white (excluding Hispanic or Latino) compared with 39.45% for the state as a whole. Hispanic or Latinos comprise only 8.9% compared with 38.2% in California. Asians represent only 2.7% in Shasta County compared with 13.9% throughout California. American Indian and Alaska Natives are 3.1%, slightly higher than the 1.7% state average, but Blacks or African Americans are a mere 1.0% compared with 6.6% statewide.

    Shasta County residents typically have a High School education or higher (87.6% in Shasta County compared with 80.8% statewide), but higher education degrees (BA and graduate) are not as prevalent (19.7% compared with 30.8% in California.) Perhaps many bright students go away to college and do not return to the County after earning an advanced degree, because of lack of employment opportunities that optimize their training. That could change with the internet and telecommuting.

    Retirees are significant with18.1% over 65 years of age, versus 12.1% throughout the state. Shasta County, with 18,000 veterans, also has double the proportion per capita than all of California.

    Even though 17.2% are persons below the poverty level, which is significantly higher than the 14.4% state total, It has a higher home ownership rate (65.3% compared with 56.7% for California.)

    This data suggests that local poverty seems to be related to fewer good paying job opportunities, lower education levels and a higher proportion of households on fixed incomes and is is not dominated by ethnic minorities and racial prejudice.

    So our own vision of a beloved community needs to be a unique expression of who we are now and who we can become.

    Help us define that vision and make it a reality. Leave a comment.

    Source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06089.html

  2. Pingback: Shasta County’s Beloved Community Movement | ReddingVoice.com

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