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Nourish International

New Date for Hunger Luncheon 2015

February 24, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

WELCOME (3)Nourish to Host Celebration of Community Leaders at our 

Biannual Hunger Luncheon

Nourish International is excited to host this year’s Biannual Hunger Luncheon on February 27th, 2015 at the Rizzo Conference Center in Chapel Hill. The event will celebrate not only the accomplishments of Nourish as a movement, but also the honorable work of exceptional leaders within our space. This year, we will present our Nourish International Impact Awards to key individuals in the fields of international development, higher education, and social entrepreneurship.  We are happy to announce the following recipients of the 2015 Nourish Impact Awards:

Jud Bowman   Award for Advancement in Entrepreneurship: Jud Bowman, Founder and CEO, Appia, Inc. 

Jud Bowman is the Founder and CEO of Appia, Inc., the leading mobile acquisition network that has delivered more than 90 million app installs for hundreds of advertisers, including 60 of the top 100 grossing apps on the App Store and Google Play. In 1999, Bowman deferred from Stanford University to co-found Pinpoint Networks, one of the leading providers of software and services for managing and delivering mobile contents. In 2004, Pinpoint Networks merged with mobile tech company Power By Hand to create Motricity, a company that provides integrated mobile content solutions for handheld and mobile devices. Since its founding, Bowman has served as Director, President, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Operating Officer of Motricity, helping it to become a leading company in the mobile content market. In 2008, Bowman started Appia (formerly known as Pocketgear) and helped grow the company to $100 million in venture capital and over 500 employees. Bowman currently serves on the Boards of Nourish International, Research Triangle Park, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. He has won numerous awards in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship, including his nomination as “Tech’s Best Young Entrepreneur” by Business-week and one of the world’s “Top 100 Young Innovators” by MIT’s Technology Review. Bowman has spoken at numerous industry events and investment banking conferences around the world and is also a frequent guest speaker at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.


Pape Gaye     Award for Advancement in International Development: Pape Gaye, President and CEO, IntraHealth International


Pape Gaye, President and CEO of IntraHealth, has devoted three decades of his life to improving the quality of healthcare and serving those in communities of need around the globe. Gaye, a Senegal native, began his career in international development as a trainer for the Peace Corps in Senegal and Benin. He then moved to the United States to complete his undergraduate degree at the University of California Santa Barbara and earned his MBA from the University of California-Los Angeles, where he developed an interest in cross-cultural approaches and management principles. After graduation, Gaye worked for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Committee and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While serving as a consultant for the CDC, IntraHealth contacted Gaye asking that he start a regional office in West and Central Africa. This began Gaye’s career with IntraHealth, a Chapel Hill-based nonprofit that enables health workers to better serve communities in need around the world. As the director of the West, Central, and North African regional office, Gaye focused on improving the performance of healthcare systems to more effectively serve clients and communities with quality care. IntraHealth named Gaye the president and CEO of the organization, which has grown significantly to 20 regional offices and 500 employees around the globe since its founding. Today, Gaye speaks nationally and internationally on the global health worker crisis and human capacity building.

Judith Cone

    Award for Advancement in Higher Education: Judith Cone, Vice Chancellor for Commercialization and Economic Development

As the Special Assistant to the Chancellor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Judith Cone has helped to cultivate an entrepreneurial environment at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before her time at the university, Cone spent 15 years at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she served as the vice president of emerging strategies and entrepreneurship. Cone led several of the foundation’s key initiatives including a business start-up training program, used by millions of entrepreneurs around the globe, the Kauffman Campuses Initiative, which helps to make education in entrepreneurship accessible across college campuses, and an award-winning online resource for entrepreneurs. Cone also serves as the interim director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise as well as the University’s first ever vice chancellor of commercialization and economic development. In 2013, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce awarded Cone the Town & Gown Award, which recognizes individuals who foster a mutually beneficial relationship between UNC and the surrounding community. Prior to her time at the Kauffman Foundation, Cone co-founded two management consulting firms serving Fortune 500 clients. Her first career was as a learning disabilities teacher working with children in low-income areas. Cone writes and lectures nationally and internationally on the topics of innovation and entrepreneurship.



Guests, which will include board members and staff, donors, partners, students, and other leaders in our community, are invited to enjoy Nourish’s signature Hunger Lunch—a meal of rice, beans, and cornbread that serves as a typical meal in many developing countries.

Executive Director Kelly Phoenix and Board Co-Chair Dee Blake will also give remarks on the recent successes of Nourish and will discuss the future of the organization. We invite those interested in our work to join us for this great opportunity to meet inspiring individuals in our network.

To purchase tickets for the event, follow this link to our Eventbrite page. Please direct any questions to Kelly Phoenix at [email protected]

We hope you will celebrate with us!

Helping Communities Abroad through New Summer Partnerships

February 23, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

TWO DAYS LEFT!! We are approaching the end and are blown away by the progress our students have made in their fundraising efforts. As of today, we have raised over $50,000!! The 2015 Giving Challenge is wrapping up this Wednesday the 25th at midnight, so please consider donating to help us hit our $75,000 goal!

Last week, we shared with you about some of the Projects that are working with their on-the-ground partner for a second consecutive year. We are also excited to announce six brand new partnerships our Chapters have formed with organizations that we have not collaborated with previously.













Associaçäo Casa de Videira – Brazil

  • UNC-Chapel Hill and Associaçäo Casa de Videira will create and improve the seed bank that will serve to provide hands-on learning opportunities relating to organic practices in agriculture for Palmeira, Brazil.

Asociacion de Voluntarios para El Desarrollo Comunitario – Nicaragua

  • Randolph-Macon and UT-Austin will partner with AVODEC to install a new irrigation system and design a single gravity system to put in place in the community in Jinotega. They will then prepare and/or facilitate training sessions the community member on how to use the system efficiently.

Helping Hands – Peru

  • Dayton and Whittier will create a shop for the women of Cusco, Peru to make and sell their products. Students will be working closely with Helping Hands to produce a website for the women’s handicrafts and fund the craft production for the women.

Samerth Charitable Trust – India

  • Butler and Ohio State are working with Samerth Charitable Trust to develop a computer database in the Kutch district of Gujarat.

Sehgal Foundation – India

  • Sehgal Foundation is partnering with our UF and UT-Knoxville Chapters to implement a project focused on sanitation and toilet construction while working with the village health, sanitation, and nutrition committee in Haryana.

Sustainable Bolivia – Bolivia

  • Boston College and Boston University will be working with Sustainable Bolivia in Cochabamba to participate in women’s empowerment programs and promote female health education within a local grade school. Both Chapters will also band together to develop sustainable technology and a health curriculum for the members within the community.

Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme – Uganda

  • Hope College and Georgia Tech will team up with URDT to help support a girls school in constructing water tanks to provide a clean water supply. They will also be teaching the students in the school as well as Kampala, Uganda community members entrepreneurial and agricultural skills.

Please visit our 2015 Giving Challenge Crowdrise page to find out more about all of our other awesome summer Projects. And please donate to support the Nourish movement! Keep up the great work!

Pursuing Sustainability in Our Summer Projects Model  

February 17, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

First and foremost, Nourish International is completely blown away by how well the Giving Challenge has done so far—our students have raised almost $40,000!! The Giving Challenge is a unique fundraising opportunity to help individual Chapters raise money to travel abroad over the summer and implement sustainable development Projects. For summer 2015, Nourish students are participating in 31 separate Projects, 18 of which are repeat partnerships.

In order for our students to gain international development and leadership skills, we partner with grassroots organizations around the world to implement sustainable Projects for six to eight weeks in local communities. Our repeat partnerships allow students to build a longer-lasting relationship (two years or more) and increase the impact made in that community exponentially as they assess the work they completed the year before and continue their impact for another summer.











Here are some impressive repeat Projects happening in South America this summer:

  • Emory, University of Kansas, and University of Wisconsin will be partnering with MOCHE to help bring health and sanitation education to communities in Peru.
  • Project Amazonas, Inc., also in Peru, will band together with our McGill and Rice Chapters to establish a medicinal plant garden and implement a health curriculum, respectively.
  • In Ecuador, Davidson and TCU will be assisting Triple Salto as they put together an organic orchard to generate food and income for a school kitchen nearby. OSU, on the other hand, will be continuing their microgreenhouse project.












Other Chapters will be working equally as hard in Africa.

  • Global Health Network Uganda (GHNU) is partnering with Syracuse again to implement a wide range of goals: building a piggery, teaching financial literacy classes, etc.
  • RASD and Columbia will construct a water tank for the city of Nikononjeru in Uganda while UGA will be working on a social entrepreneurship project marketing beads in the same city.

Of course, these are only a few of the amazing Projects that will be implemented this summer, so learn more about individual teams and their partner organizations on our Giving Challenge page. If there is a particular Project that you are passionate about supporting, please consider donating to individual team pages and help Nourish hit our $75,000 cumulative goal by February 25th!

OSU Chapter Visit 2015

February 12, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Nourish National Office Stops By Our OSU Chapter!


This past weekend, Nourish International National Office (NINO) staff members traveled to Columbus, Ohio for a fun-filled Chapter visit at the Ohio State University! After arriving Thursday morning, Chancey and Ellen led the OSU Chapter in workshops and one-on-one mentoring that had been catered to suit the specific needs of their Chapter.


Chapter Visits serve not only as a stimulating opportunity for acquiring useful skills, but also as a method to form more personal ties between the Chapter and NINO outside of weekly phone and email mentorship, the Virtual Institute and Summer Institute. Individual Chapters generally facilitate these learning experiences themselves, pitching their proposal and an itinerary for the visit. The National Office reviews applications each semester and selects Chapter visits whose plans most benefit the Chapter as they grow on their campus, scale Ventures and prepare for their summer Projects.


The visits are an inspiration to both Chapter members and National Office staff as they more fully realize the scope of the Nourish movement and the importance of collaboration in growing personally, as a Chapter and as a whole organization. Chapter visits also provide a unique opportunity for NINO staff to receive an inside look at how a specific Chapter functions and how the National Office staff can best work with them throughout the year to develop connections and gain skills that will benefit their Chapter in the largest capacity possible.

NINO has two more Chapter visits this semester—to University of Texas at Austin and Boston College—so keep an eye out for updates!

Giving Challenge 2015 Kicks Off Today!

February 4, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Giving Challenge 2015: February 4th – February 25th!

giving challenge banner

The Fifth Annual Giving Challenge starts today, Wednesday, February 4th and will run until Wednesday, February 25th! Nourish Chapters from across the United States and Canada are kicking off an exciting fundraising competition to raise money for 30 Projects this summer. Nourish is partnering with to host the Giving Challenge. The new platform offers many exciting features for our students as they pursue their fundraising goals.

Visit the Challenge here:

You can help support Chapter Projects by following their pages and learning more about the work they are doing around the world this summer. Top performing Chapters will receive cash prizes directly to their cause. Once the Giving Challenge reaches $40,000, the Nourish International National Office will be matching 5% of the money each Chapter has raised by that time! Last year, we were able to raise over $56,000, and for 2015, the Nourish Movement hopes to engage a larger community to achieve a fundraising goal of $75,000!

The Giving Challenge is designed to help Chapters raise the funds they need to implement sustainable projects abroad, as well as spread awareness about the work they are doing.  Be a part of the Giving Challenge today and visit Crowdrise. Follow our movement closely as we start this 3-week challenge! Check us out on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.

Shop Nourish for Valentine’s Day!

February 3, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By



dark chocolate with raspberriesValentine’s Day is quickly approaching, which means we are unveiling our Valentine’s Day specials in Shop Nourish! We are excited to introduce NEW products in our store picked specifically for this season of love! With our partner organization, Shea Yeleen, we introduce Lip Balm and Lavender Honeysuckle Body Butter. This ultra-hydratingScreen Shot 2015-01-30 at 4.41.34 PM formula, produced by women in Ghana, is made from high-quality, unrefined Shea butter that distinguishes Shea Yeleen as a unique social enterprise. We are also featuring our fairtrade chocolate collection from Divine Chocolate in four delectable flavors: 70% Dark Chocolate, 70% Dark Chocolate with Raspberries, Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, and White Chocolate with Strawberries. Be sure to check out our Empower Bracelets from BeadforLife and Blessing Bags from ABAN now in BOTH blue and red!


Introducing our Valentine’s combo deals! The customizable Spread the Love Bag features a Divine Chocolate Bar, Shea Lip Balm, and a Blessing Bag for $15. We also bring you the Spread More Love Bag, which includes all the items found in the Spread the Love Bag PLUS an Empower Bracelet for $5 more. These featured items are perfect for a gift for a loved one or for treating yourself this February 14th!


All proceeds from sales in Shop Nourish will be used to fund social development and sustainable projects that are fighting extreme poverty. Our unique products are linked to nonprofit organizations and talented artisans in countries abroad. Come check out Shop Nourish for our incredible Valentine’s Day opportunities! Also, considering donating to our causes by joining our movement!

Connect with us!





Virtual Institute 2015 Recap

February 1, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By


High Impact of Virtual Institute 2015

This past Saturday, January 24th, we hosted Virtual Institute 2015! Every January, Nourish International and its Chapters gather together on for this virtual training conference as a collaborative effort to grow the Nourish movement. This year, we were extremely excited to have over 30 of our amazing chapters with 100 student social entrepreneurs attend our daylong development session. (Shout out to our Chapters on the West Coast for getting up at 9 am on a Saturday!)

Every year, Virtual Institute has served as a platform for Chapters across the US and Canada to connect and learn from each other. We tailored our valuable workshops and discussions so that Chapters may build a better understanding of how to further the impact on extreme poverty as student leaders. Students are able to not only inspire but also learn from their peers—Virtual Institute is one of two times in the year, the other being our Summer Institute, in which Nourish is able to participate as one group.

Virtual Institute this year was a huge success! Students loved how they were able to meet with other leaders in the movement and share their passions for sustainable and responsible development projects. Lauren Monahan from Boston College loved “[seeing and] hearing from all the students and being able to connect with them!” Alex Deuley from Pitt affirmed that “connecting with students across the country and hearing that they are going through similar experiences that we are” was one of the best parts of Virtual Institute.

To support Nourish’s high impact virtual programs, like Virtual Institute, you can donate here.

Connect with Nourish!





Welcome Anna Marie!

January 30, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Anna MarieAnna Marie Carr named Development Coordinator for Nourish International

Anna Marie Carr will begin working with Nourish International as its full-time Development Coordinator in February 2015. Anna Marie has both student and alumni experience with Nourish and a true passion for leveraging social entrepreneurship to make a lasting impact on extreme poverty with young people around the country. Since her first experience with Nourish in 2010, helping to found the Wake Forest University chapter, Anna Marie has seen the challenges and increasing opportunities for this innovative, inspiring organization to grow and thrive.

Anna Marie has remained involved with Nourish since she graduated from Wake Forest in 2011,  as co-chair of the national alumni committee and alumni mentor at the Summer Institute, with continued focus on contributing to Nourish as a professional priority and personal passion. Her experience with the organization has truly shaped her life’s trajectory and helped her discover many of her core values, and she sees the opportunity to work for the National Office as Development Coordinator as a way to harness the power of philanthropy in individuals and communities to provide this transformative experience to thousands more.

After graduating from Wake Forest in 2011, Anna Marie worked as Development Manager for the Piedmont Triad Chapter of JDRF, and most recently as Development and Campaign Manager for the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem. Anna Marie is excited to jump in with both feet and help increase Nourish International’s impact on global poverty.

What Can NGOs Learn From the West’s Response to Ebola?

January 22, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

What Can NGOs Learn From the West’s Response to Ebola?

By Nathan Albright, Community Discourse Coordinator at Nourish International

Featured on the Huffington Post  


Image by Josh McDonald

$59.99 is the current price for a novelty “Sexy Ebola Costume,” including a “short dress and chic gas mask.” The “hazmat couture” couples costume costs a little more.

$116 is the amount Zidane Konneh had saved up working as a mechanic in Sierra Leone before he contracted Ebola. The cash, the mattress he stored it in, and all of his possessions were burned by cautious neighbors while he fought for his life in the local hospital. Thirty-eight members of his family died of the disease. He and the few that survived are now feared and outcast from their community. In recent interviews with Al Jazeera, Konneh and others spoke about post-Ebola health effects including impotence, chronic pain, and blindness.

A “Sexy Ebola Costume” is a dumb joke, but it’s also part of a broader attitude. A numbness to suffering across oceans and through TV screens. The Global North’s response to the Ebola crisis says a lot about its relationship to the Global South. Any organization that seeks to mobilize action on global inequality should be taking notes.

The Terrorism of Poverty

Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are rich in natural resources — rubber, precious metals, diamonds — yet economically, they’re some of the poorest countries on the planet, lacking even the most basic health infrastructure. One resource critically low at many of the hospitals battling Ebola is food. Paul Farmer of Partners in Health recently called it “the terrorism of poverty”:

“This isn’t a natural disaster… there’s a reason the case fatality rate is 80 percent in rural Africa and 0 percent in Americans and Europeans who get out in time and get proper medical care.”

Farmer delivered this same warning nearly 20 years ago in a Harvard Medical Journal:

“Social inequalities have sculpted not only the distribution of emerging diseases but also the course of disease in those affected by them… Ebola outbreaks affect certain people… people living in poverty and those who serve the poor.”

A complex history of colonialism, civil war, exploitation, and failed development policy has led to this tragedy, but the result is painfully simple: where you are born determines your chances of survival.

The Fear Is Worse…

In a tense few days last Fall, Americans truly felt the fear of a domestic outbreak. We held our breath as our medical facilities were put to the test. A two-week flurry of media coverage descended on a handful of American cases, bringing a new level of attention to an epidemic that had already killed thousands.

Amid overdue calls for action, there were nearly as many calls to calm down. Countless articles like The Daily Beast‘s “Ebola Panic Is Worse Than the Disease” made our perspective painfully clear. A brief mention of the situation in West Africa, a reassurance that it couldn’t get that way here, and the conclusion: we can all relax. The overstated likelihood of a domestic outbreak seemed to inspire more discussion than months of legitimate disaster overseas.

Still, it was this imagined local outbreak, not the images of foreign suffering, that finally mobilized Americans to action.

Dismay of Images

Fifteen years ago, before YouTube or social media, the activist organization Witness was ahead of its time. It had just started the “world’s first participatory media site for human rights.” This image sharing platform, eventually “The HUB,” allowed participants to “see it, film it, change it.” It seemed like the perfect tool for leveraging the power of image.

Years into this experiment, CalArts Professor Maggie Nelson dissected the site in The Art of Cruelty:

“I find the smorgasbord of human suffering offered on [the] site repellent. Not because ‘it is difficult to look’ (though sometimes, of course, it is), but because the physical and mental activity of Web surfing, which consists of rapid image flow, the distillation of long, complex stories and situations to 2-inch-high, four-minute snippets, one-click decision-making, happenstance isolations, juxtapositions, and linkages that have an eerily leveling effect on content and context, is, in my experience an exceptionally poor means by which to contemplate the horrors of human trafficking, child prostitution, landmines, and the like.”

In an article on the “Dismay of Images,” anthropologists Joan and Arthur Kleinman discussed this desensitizing flow of information:

“Viewers are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of atrocities. There is too much to see, and there appears to be too much to do anything about. [The feeling] that complex problems can be neither understood nor fixed … produce[s] moral fatigue, exhaustion of empathy, and political despair.”

In 2011, “The Hub” stopped accepting new content.

A New Challenge

This epidemic is not over and has already produced some of the most powerful pictures and staggering statistics the world has known. Liquefied internal organs. Graphs showing exponential rates of infection, threatening at one point to reach 1.4 million by January. Invaluable time constantly slipping away. Hospitals overflowing with patients, turning away pregnant women and dying children.

If these haunting images were not enough to mobilize a necessary response, we need to shift our focus.

We need new ways to inspire empathy. Images and statistics are powerful tools, but their power lies in the stories they tell. The pendulum has swung too far toward distilled image, away from context. The challenge, as Kleinman sees it, is to reframe our discussions so that “social forces are made to relate to biography and local history.”

Though action is needed urgently, context is understood with time, personal investment, and room for emotion. If we are overwhelmed by the range of images and statistics, we need to take that time to scale down–as organizations, activists, and communities–to learn about the human behind an image, the experience of being counted among statistics. To share more than a picture, discuss more than a number.

How do we realize justice in a world where the lives of the poor hinge on the decisions of the rich? Asking each other may be a good start.

Nathan Albright is the Community Discourse Coordinator at Nourish International.

Direct Action on Racism, Poverty, and War: An Honest Attempt to Honor MLK

January 22, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Featured in the Huffington Post

By Nourish Alumnus, Nathan Albright

Photo Credit National Park Service

Many of Martin Luther King Jr.’s best-remembered quotes deal in poetic generalities or abstract universal ideas: love driving out hatred, or a long moral arc bending towards justice.

King’s poetic imagery was a powerful tool for reaching people, but he found sentimentality hollow when not paired with honest speech and direct action.

When he recognized hatred in racist politicians or businesses, he would publicly call them out, descend on their town with demonstrations, stage boycotts or sit-ins at their establishments. He often reminded us that though the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice, social progress comes “through the tireless efforts and the persistent work of dedicated individuals,” and never “on the wheels of inevitability.”

King believed in loving his enemies, but he wasn’t afraid to make them.

It can be difficult to remember that a man who has been so universally celebrated in death was seen in life as a radical. When Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1962, twice as many Americans had an unfavorable view of him as a favorable one.

Today there isn’t a more fondly remembered and respected public figure than King, but did our opinion of him change because we embraced his ideas of radical justice, or did we simply forget them?

Islands of Poverty

To King, racism was inseparable from poverty. Genuine equality, he believed, meant much more than eliminating overt segregation, it meant addressing cycles of inequality. King referred to majority black ghettos as “island[s] of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity,” and considered this economic segregation an even greater challenge than legal segregation:

“It’s much easier to integrate a lunch counter than it is to guarantee a livable income and a good solid job. It’s much easier to guarantee the right to vote than it is to guarantee the right to live in sanitary, decent housing conditions.”

His hope for ending this economic segregation lay in questioning larger systems. “True compassion” he said, “is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

The Greatest Purveyor of Violence

When discouraging the violence of those angered by racism and poverty, King was regularly asked how the United States’s use of violence to solve problems was any different. The question “What about Vietnam?” affected King, eventually leading him to denounce the war, and refer to the United States government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” To King, war, poverty, and racism, were interrelated symptoms of a larger societal illness:

“We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

In a series of speeches toward the end of his life, King repeatedly warned that none of these triplets could be eliminated while the others remained.

A Single Garment of Destiny

King’s understanding of deep interconnectivity didn’t stop at our borders. He firmly believed that racism and colonialism were two chapters of the same story, a “common cause of minority and colonial peoples in America, Africa, and Asia struggling to throw off racialism and imperialism.”

King’s famed admiration for Ghandi’s leadership in nonviolent rebellion was not isolated. He drew inspiration from Kwame Nkrumah, who led Ghana to peaceful independence, he spoke of a brotherhood with those under South African apartheid, and encouraged America to support any people seeking its independence. As with the triple evils, he felt that if only colonialism or only racism were brought to an end, the other would persist. Still, he was certain that powerful changes were brewing:

“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” …The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.”

When king spoke about justice for all, he meant all of humanity: “a universal brotherhood” united in a “garment of destiny.”

A Common Cause

King feared that though the United States had the potential to lead a global revolution of values, it would find itself on the wrong side of history.

In recent months, the nation has been sharply divided along racial lines in its interpretations of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. It has been a powerful reminder that true racial harmony remains a dream. From those who lost nothing we have seen too few attempts to bridge racial divides by simply trying to understand the pain of communities that lost lives. But as perspectives clash, we should remember that King didn’t fear tension. He believed in the power of tension to move us forward if we’re only willing to face it.

When we avoid the uncomfortable in favor of our singular “cause,” when we find ourselves outspoken in international politics but quiet on domestic injustice, we can learn a lot from King’s message of unity. Nonprofits which often must struggle against one another for funding and attention, can accomplish so much more with direct, collective actions that reflect a shared understanding of justice.

If you care about poverty abroad, advocate for equality at home. If you care about equality at home, protest military spending that depletes public resources and promotes violence abroad. If you care about violence abroad, boycott domestic companies that support exploitation and a global imbalance of wealth along racial lines. If we view humanity as a family, as MLK dreamed, then we cannot justify treating social justice as a buffet or advocacy as a pastime.

Throughout his career, from his first speech addressing the organizers of the Montgomery bus boycott to his final speech addressing union organizers the night before he was assassinated, King called on those who would listen to “work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

In honoring the memory of Martin Luther King Jr., we should never dream of anything less.

Nathan Albright is the Community Discourse Coordinator at Nourish International

Photo Credit Library of Congress

Martin Luther King Jr. Speeches and Letters

Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution

The Other America

The Birth of A New Nation

Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence

My Trip To The Land of Ghandi

Address to the First Montgomery Improvement Association

I Have Seen the Mountaintop