An Educational Antidote to Violence By Dr. Vern L. Howard

An Educational Antidote to Violence By Dr. Vern L. Howard

“We didn’t kill anybody. A few of us were killed…but we made sure that non-violence was the way that we helped America grow in grace and in the purity of its own vision.” -Ambassador Andrew Young

America is in an era where we face a rising tide of violence. We would do well to heed the wisdom of these timeless words from one of America’s greatest Civil Rights pioneers. 

A half-century has passed since Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for justice and equality. Social science research has extensively validated Dr. King’s commitment to pursuing social injustice through non-violence. Nevertheless, much of what we see in our nation’s streets speaks to our failure to transmit this truth to future generations.

As Chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission, this is one of the reasons the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission. Support Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Initiative to teach Dr. King’s non-violent social justice principles to a new generation.

Our goal with the educational initiative is to raise thousands of Dr. Kings — from among every community in our great and diverse nation – by harnessing the power of the tools of the Digital Age to be torchbearers for his transcendent ideals of social justice.

Fortunately, Dr. Matthew Daniels of Good of All and a team of national experts have developed new MLK curricula for high school and primary school students.

These courses have already been piloted in multiple states with great success.

Therefore, it is an honor to serve with Sen. James Coleman as Co-Chair of the bi-partisan Colorado Committee for the MLK Educational Initiative.

We are bringing these timely educational resources to Colorado.

While no significant social problem can be solved overnight, we must make a concerted effort now to reinvigorate ideas that are the best cure for the rising deluge of violence and division in our nation.

America cannot shine a light on freedom and human rights around the world if we have failed to teach the principles that allow for social justice, democracy, and peace at home.

A key feature of our MLK curricula is to teach students how recent developments in digital technology have afforded unprecedented opportunities for individuals to make a difference.

Students absorb how tools ranging from social media to crowdsourcing and mapping have enabled ordinary people and charities to bring about change in their neighborhoods and across the globe.

In this way, our curricula encourage students to follow in the footsteps of Dr. King and become promoters of human rights – at home and around the world.

In his last speech before his assassination, Dr. King invoked the famous example of the Good Samaritan. He called upon his audience to practice similar “dangerous unselfishness” toward those in need—particularly the weakest, the most vulnerable, and the most marginalized.

Therefore, our MLK Educational Initiative teaches the next generation to be “Digital Samaritans.” They employ the powerful tools of the Digital Age to advance the practical social justice principles modeled by Dr. King, Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Young, and other human rights heroes worldwide.

We cannot remedy all the inequality, suffering, or oppression in our world.

Moreover, we can use education to give the next generation a roadmap to carry the torch of Dr. King’s vision of a more just future for all.

Dr. Vern L. Howard is Chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission and Co-Co-Chair of the Colorado Committee for the MLK Educational Initiative (

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