Week 4: Fair Housing in a Beloved Community
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50 weeks of Action Archive


Week 4: Fair Housing in a Beloved Community

Week Four 
Fair Housing in a Beloved Community
Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in front of the New Friendship Baptist Church in Englewood (Chicago) on August 5, 1966. PHOTO: CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Dr. King's Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. (1)
In his last years, Dr. King fought for fair housing through the Chicago Freedom Movement of 1966 and with President Lyndon B. Johnson to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1968, known as the Fair Housing Act-which passed days after Dr. King's assassination. However, the law's impact was diminished by white flight to suburbs to avoid integrated neighborhoods. Abandoned resources, schools and jobs left blighted ghettos and poverty. 
So what does it take to see a Beloved Community in urban centers, as well as suburban and rural areas? Our communities are more than the homes we live in.  The heart of the community is the people who take responsibility for it.  Get to know your neighborhood and neighbors.  Reassess problem areas. Learn about changes that are happening, who is making the decisions, and how you can be involved.  If we know more, we can do more.
(1) The King Philosophy, thekingcenter.org
  1. Actively observe your neighborhood and identify three things you didn't know before.  
  2. Attend at least one meeting with your city council, school board, community center or place of worship that is actively addressing community concerns. 
  3. Read a Chicago Magazine article on the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Freedom Movement 1966 and the status of Chicago today.  What correlations can we make for solutions in your neighborhood?
  4. Join our 50 Weeks of Action Facebook Group to share your ideas with a community of those who have taken the MLK50 Pledge for Peace and Action.
Connecting Communities  
What is a community?  A community shares a common interest or goal. A community may live, work, or play together like your family, neighborhood, school, sports team, or house of faith. A community could also be the city, state or country where you live. We all belong to one big community - the world!
Dr. King often spoke of the "Beloved Community," where no one is without food or a home, and all people have what they need to live.   How can we help to make our community stronger? How can we create a Beloved Community? 
  1. To learn how YOU can help to make your community a better place, read  Look Where We Live: A First Book of Community Building By Scot Ritchie.  Watch the book's trailer and choose activities from the book to do with your friends and family.
  2. Check out this video from Sesame Street to learn about some of the people in your neighborhood. What do you want to do when you grow up? 
How will you be a community helper? Click below for more.
What ideas do you have to spark the modern day Civil Rights Movement? What stories of your past can help us today and in the future? Share your civil rights stories with us. Your ideas and your stories matter.  #MLK50