A century before Martin Luther King’s “Where do we go from here?” speech of August 1967, Theodore Parker said the following:
I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.
The arc doesn’t bend on its own. The bend is created by the courageous and persistent work of a minority, who possesses a moral imagination capable of seeing a future world that is better than today’s.
And so do we all have a responsibility to see the injustice about us, and to work towards its elimination, even if we never enjoy the fruits of our labor.
You are not obliged to complete the work, but neither are you free to evade it. — Rabbi Tarfon