Gathering in January: "MLKing + 50" planning "Truth & Transformation"

[Late News Added: At the end of this letter,  I want to share with you-all both a moment of celebration for the victory of the Sioux of Standing Rock and their allies over the Dakota Oil Access Pipe Line, and a moment of grief for the human costs of the victory.] 

April 4, 2017, will be the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's most profound and provocative speech. He spoke at Riverside Church in New York City, and his talk was entitled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence."

April 4, 2018 will be the 50th anniversary of his death.

The Shalom Center has initiated a campaign to make the year from April 4 to April 4 MLK + 50 — A Jubilee Year of Truth and Transformation.

Before the year begins, we need to start planning how to bring Truth and Transformation into the life of our nation.

Stony Point retreat center, one hour north of New York City, has created a time and space for us to gather to begin that planning. Stony Point practices King's vision of the Beloved Community. People of all races and religions gather there in loving relation to the land and to each other. Our retreat there is called "BEYOND 'Beyond Vietnam: Reclaiming King’s Courage for Movement Building Today."

Just below, you will see a description and invitation to explore the possibilities. The retreat begins on Monday, January 16, Martin Luther King Birthday, and ends on Thursday, January 19, the day before the inauguration of a new president –- the president most hostile to Dr. King's vision of the world among all the presidents of the last 50 years.

In his Riverside Speech, Dr. King pointed to "racism, militarism, and materialism" as the "deadly triplets" afflicting American society. He called for a "revolution in values" throughout America. He pointed to "the fierce urgency of Now."

Fifty years later, the urgency of Now is even fiercer. How do we draw on Dr. King's wisdom, his understanding of American society, his insistence on nonviolent challenge to oppression --  to help us bring nearer a "revolution of values" in our own generation?

I hope that many of us will be able to gather at Stony Point to deepen our experience by seeing each other face to face.

Please register by clicking here:


I hope that we will be able, face to face, to share with each other the blessings of shalom, salaam, peace, Earth!

*** *** *** *** ***

The victory of Standing Rock was won by months of determined prayerful public nonviolent challenge by Native communities and their non-Native allies. The Water Protectors were and are rooted in the spiritual tradition of the Sioux and their sacred relationship with Earth and water. Their sense of Earth and Spirit aroused the Spirit in millions far away.

The movement also drew on the experience of the 50-years-ago nonviolent Black-led movement to advance American democracy, which was voiced most eloquently by Dr. King.  All the more reason for us to reawaken broader knowledge of his deepest teachings.

I am joyful to report that the Rabbinic Statement on Standing Rock, signed by more than 300 Rabbis, was submitted last week to President Obama and also, on the ground at Standing Rock, by Rabbi Julia Vaughns on behalf of The Shalom Center and The Jewish People. Rabbi Vaughns writes:


  A printed copy of the Rabbinic Statement was delivered by hand last night to Chief Elder Leonard Crow Dog ....  This morning I met with him again for a brief Counsel where also was present Chairman David Archambault who was holding the now very worn and obviously well looked over copy of the Rabbinic Statement I had given Elder Crow Dog the night before.  We spoke briefly about this letter of Solidarity, what it is and what it represents and they are very welcoming of the political influence and advocacy that the Jewish People can give to their cause at this time.


And I cannot celebrate this victory without sorrowfully recognizing the profound debt that all of us owe Sophia Wilansky, Sarah bat Devorah, may she live long and fully heal, who brought the best of Jewish values to her courageous act of kiddush haShem,  making-holy the Name of the ONE Who breathes all life.

====  Arthur






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