"Most of these people will never make the headlines and their names will not appear in Who's Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live--men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization--because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
These stirring words, delivered by King upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, were dedicated to the thousands around the world engaged in nonviolence. Though often hidden from the public eye, these individuals were directly confronting, in King's words, "the crucial political and moral question of our time--the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression."
At Just Vision, we are mindful of how aptly King's words describe those Palestinians and Israelis working without arms toward a better future in the Middle East. We also know that we don't have the luxury to wait for years to "roll past" before supporting their leadership. For the sake of peace and an end to occupation, these visionaries must find their place in the spotlight now and provide a desperately needed alternative to the polarization, apathy and hopelessness that have taken hold in the region.
That alternative is embodied by hundreds of unsung Israelis and Palestinians whose stories we are highlighting on our website and in our new Unsung Visionaries of 2010 slideshow.
In the coming months, we will connect these visionaries to you in new ways. You will see and hear about them in our monthly updates, follow their day-to-day lives with our Twitter Tours, become familiar with their efforts through new short films and interviews, and bring your messages of support directly to their ears.
Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words remain all too applicable today: many of these "unknown ground crews," as he called them, will never make the headlines nor will they appear in the nightly news. But that should not mean that their voices go unheard. With your help, we will make sure that they receive the support they deserve, so that they have the impact that we all so urgently need.
Follow Ronit Avni on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Ronit_Avni