Malia Lazu: Executive Director, Future Boston Alliance

Age: 35
Location: Originally from Honolulu HI and now in Roxbury.
How Martin Luther King Jr. Inspired You:

I think the strategy of his movement allowed America to have a conversation about race. He was really able to, because of his love of reconciliation and wanting to wrestle with loving your enemy, he was able to help all Americans have this conversation with a little less defensiveness than with some of the other more radical movements of the time. I think that’s always been something that, as a community organizer and activist, I see in his strategy. I worked with Belafonte for 8 years, and he bought MLK his house and paid MLK his life insurance, and it was in working with civil rights elders that I was deeply changed in the doctor’s personal philosophy, and the internal change you must have to constantly walk in love, and the external discipline necessary to come to love an enemy. It is a process that continues to inspire and challenge me in my every day work.

I guess the final thing I would say about Dr. King that I hold deep into my toolbox is that he was deeply dedicated to the poor. And I think that we white-wash over that quite a bit and white-wash over that notion that he was. When he was killed he was marching with workers, and what he ultimately saw was that part of justice entailed all of humanity to be able to live in dignity.

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