a MARTIN LUTHER KING JR kind of peace


Our PEACE COLLECTION dropped today,

and I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed meditating on the ideas and stories that influenced our new designs. Through this collection we’re challenging the negativity associated with the idea of destruction. Our thought starts with the literal translation from the original Hebrew of the word peace:


Of course, this is the definition that inspired the destroy design you see on our newest pieces, and prompted us to review the stories of those who have lived, played, worked, taught, served, and died in the name of peace. Some of them are athletes, others aren't. What they seemed to have in common was an unwavering commitment to discovering and abiding by deeper meanings of peace than the popular picture of tranquility. 

For instance,

Martin Luther King Jr.

was a gifted student - skipping grades nine and twelve to enroll at Morehouse College at the age of 15. He went to jail 29 times. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill creating the federal holiday we celebrate today. 

The "yinyang" of King’s story was due in large part to the racism and discrimination he dealt with and fought against. But complexity existed within his character and ideals too. 

For example, MLK was very committed to the idea of nonviolent, nondestructive, “peaceful” forms of protest. Yet he was the most prominent voice for the community when looting and rioting occurred. Instead of speaking out against those looting he speaks up to explain their message, in essence going against his very own. 

Martin Luther King I Have a Dream March on Washington Capital Civil Rights Protest

Today as many of us share beautiful memories, quotes, and art to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I’d like to honour his decision to work towards destroying the culture of complacency and abdication. I quote him here at length as he describes the eerily familiar summer of 1967. 

The following is an excerpt from King's renowned Massey Lecture Series, republished in 1968 as

The Trumpet of Conscience

This bloodlust interpretation ignores one of the most striking features of the city riots. Violent they certainly were. But the violence, to a startling degree, was focused against property rather than against people. There were very few cases of injury to persons, and the vast majority of the rioters were not involved at all in attacking people. The much publicized “death toll” that marked the riots, and the many injuries, were overwhelmingly inflicted on the rioters by the military. It is clear that the riots were exacerbated by police action that was designed to injure or even to kill people. As for the snipers, no account of the riots claims that more than one or two dozen people were involved in sniping. From the facts, and unmistakable pattern emerges: a handful of Negroes used gunfire substantially to intimidate, not to kill; and all of the other participants had a different target—property.

I am aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons—who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid. A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on; it is not man.

The focus on property in the 1967 riots is not accidental. It has a message; it is saying something.

If hostility to whites were ever going to dominate a Negro’s attitude and reach murderous proportions, surely it would be during a riot. But this rare opportunity for bloodletting was sublimated into arson, or turned into a kind of stormy carnival of free-merchandise distribution. Why did the rioters avoid personal attacks? The explanation cannot be fear of retribution, because the physical risks incurred in the attacks on property were no less than for personal assaults. The military forces were treating acts of petty larceny as equal to murder. Far more rioters took chances with their own lives, in their attacks on property, than threatened the life of anyone else. Why were they so violent with property then? Because property represents the white power structure, which they were attacking and trying to destroy. A curious proof of the symbolic aspect of the looting for some who took part in it is the fact that, after the riots, police received hundreds of calls from Negroes trying to return merchandise they had taken. Those people wanted the experience of taking, of redressing the power imbalance that property represents. Possession, afterward, was secondary.

A deeper level of hostility came out in arson, which was far more dangerous than the looting. But it, too, was a demonstration and a warning. It was designed to express the depth of anger in the community.

president lyndon b johnson civil rights act 1964 martin luther king,jr sign meeting congress african american racial segregation u s congress white house usa united states america

Well said King. Rest in Power. 

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