Martin Luther King III: 'Hope for a Peaceful World'

Beliefnet interviews the son of the famed civil rights leader on the importance of peace education.

BY: Jennifer E. Jones

Martin Luther King III
What does participating in the Newark Peace Education Summit mean to you?

The Newark Peace Education Summit on the Power of Nonviolence provides a unique opportunity for conference participants to share and learn from some of the finest peace educators in the world. H.G. Wells once said that “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe,” and I think this is especially true for peace education in particular. At this critical juncture, we must mine the accumulated wisdom and insights of top peace educators, so that we can better prepare people of all races, religions and nations to live together in peace. If we want the 21st century to herald a new era of peace for all humanity, then this Summit provides an excellent beginning. Bringing together some of the best thinkers regarding peace education and distilling their ideas for mass education is an excellent way to begin.

Violence is so prevalent in our urban cities. What do you feel is the biggest obstacle to peace and how do we overcome it?

In a word, “Jobs.” In my view, nothing would do more to reduce violence in American cities than genuine full employment – a job at a decent wage for every person who wants to work. Numerous studies have shown that violence increases with unemployment. People who see no hope for earning a decent living too often turn to crime or drug abuse, which creates a chain reaction of hopelessness, despair and frustration – in other words the perfect environment for violence to increase.

The best way to overcome joblessness is to create a social contract between the public and private sectors to provide decent jobs for the unemployed. The decaying infrastructure of our cities is in urgent need of repair and restoration. We can put millions of people to work rebuilding our transportation systems, our subways, bridges and highways, our ports, our parks and recreational facilities. Jobs for all who want to work is the essential prerequisite for creating a nonviolent society. Peace education is important. But you can’t have real peace when unemployment rates are in double digits in America’s cities.

Continued on page 2: Today's generation on Martin Luther King, Jr... »

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