Editor’s note: Salem State University’s annual MLK Jr. Convocation took place Monday, Jan 28. The university held an essay-writing contest for North Shore elementary, middle and high schools, asking students to write about how MLK’s legacy is alive in today’s violent world. The winners in the three categories were invited to read their essays at the convocation. Two of the winning essays were written by students from Salem. Kelsey Currier-Dougherty is from the Saltonstall Elementary School and Anibelys Flores is from Salem High.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Dr. King specifies that only light and love can bring out the positive. Darkness will forever be darkness unless light and love takes its place.
With positive reinforcement and positive dialogue, we learn to fulfill the light and love within our hearts and within the hearts of others. Using negative dialogue will only continue to bring us down, making us less confident in our communities and environment. Not only that, negativity creates violence, enemies, and crimes,which lead to death. In our daily routines we shouldn’t walk around judging each other, we should learn to complement the good and lift spirits up instead of downgrading them.
Over time I’ve learned that at our weakest point it only gets better. Let’s say, if I were in a dark room and I was mad because I never found the light switch to turn on the lights, I’d never open my eyes clearly enough to see what’s in front of me. So I’d hate it, until I found the switch and find what I’ve been looking for, so I can love it. To me Dr. King is saying those exact words; he’s basically saying that if we continue to be blind, we get nowhere. There’s right and there is wrong. It’s a matter of who is willing to love in the light and do right, or else struggle in the darkness and hate and never find what you’re truly looking for.