Giving Thanks in Troubled Times

By Marc Morial

President & CEO, National Urban League


The past year, our movement has been thankful for many positive developments. The Supreme Court protected the federal subsidies that allowed millions of people to afford health insurance. The Court also struck a blow for fair housing by allowing a broad interpretation of discrimination. We saw the Confederate flag, a powerful symbol of hate and division, brought down and rejected all over the country.

And yet, these remain dire and at times very frightening times. Police shootings of unarmed people of color continue at an alarming rate. Incidents of racism and racial violence roil our nation’s college campuses. The global war on terrorism has hit close to home, turning public opinion against innocent refugees fleeing the same brutality we claim to be fighting.

Our challenge in this sometimes chaotic world is to remain an instrument of peace.

We’ve been seeing one particular quote of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s being shared on social media rather often lately: “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, 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.”

I see our light growing stronger with every teenager enrolled in our Project Ready programs, gaining the knowledge and wisdom to become our nation’s next generation of leaders. I see it with every struggling family who’s received assistance through our hunger initiative. I see it in the 2,000 new homeowners who received housing counseling and the more than 7,000 who were able to keep their homes through our foreclosure prevention programs.

Educated, healthy and financially stable families are the key to dynamic, enlightened communities. That is the light that will drive out the darkness and the love that will drive out the hate. May God bless you and your families this Thanksgiving and throughout the year.