A couple of years ago my daughter and I visited the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. We wanted to learn more about the Civil Rights movement in America as well as other global rights movements. Part of the exhibit featured a simulation of the lunch counter sit-ins. There is a small replica of the lunch counter where visitors are invited to put on headphones, close their eyes, place their palms down on the countertop, and listen to the abuse that those courageous students endured.
Even though I knew about the facts surrounding these sit-ins in a cerebral way, the opportunity to take in the experience through my ears was much more powerful. I heard it with my ears and with my heart, and it brought me to tears. I am awed by the courage it took for these protestors to remain seated and calm while ugly words of derision and terrifying screams of violence were pouring into their ears. Risking arrest and personal harm, these protesters remain a shining example of Dr. King’s teachings of using non-violence to protest injustice.
In his vision to create a more just society, Dr. King’s message impels us to work together against the white supremacy efforts on display in the recent Capitol attack. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
You can take a virtual tour of The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, including the Lunch Counter Sit-In Simulation, and the new “We Share the Dream: King’s Beloved Community” exhibition.