“Only Love Can Do That”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. © Minnesota Historical Society.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

In Strength to Love, his 1963 book of collected sermons, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged his readers to do something bold: he asked them confront the hate and prejudice dividing their communities with love. By finding common understanding in compassion, he felt that Americans would be able to heal divisions that threatened the founding principles of our nation.

Over 50 years later, these words have not lost their immediacy. The wisdom of this great man echoes down through the generations to inspire work that touches our most deeply-cherished convictions.

Every day at Neighborhood House, I witness breathtaking moments of generosity and compassion:

• Marie Claire, a Congolese refugee and GED student in our Adult Education program, leads childcare each morning so her fellow students are able to dedicate themselves to learning English.

• Hylton Dacre, a longtime ELL student with a quick smile and thick Jamaican accent, volunteers at our Francis Basket Food Market in Highland. Providing fresh, healthy meals for families in need.

• In our Family Centers, parents who have experienced the pain of poverty and homelessness, dedicate themselves to overcoming these struggles so their children can live rich, fulfilling lives.

Small moments like these remind me that Dr. King’s dreams for all Americans are alive in the actions we take to help others. As a community, we are stronger when all are empowered to set our sights higher and pursue our dreams.

Together, we are illuminating a brighter future for our community. Together we are transforming hate, anger, and frustration through unconditional love.

Thank you for standing alongside us as we embrace the challenges and opportunities of a new year.


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Nancy Q. Brady, President