“I Have Decided to Stick with Love”

MLK leaning across a podium.
Martin Luther King Jr.

When my anger, frustration, and fear begin to cross over into hate,
MLK’s words help bring me back”

Christine Hanna — Yes! Magazine executive director

Dear Reader, 

Today, I am thinking about love. A fraught, confusing, full-of-potential kind of love. 

It’s like this: I’m writing to you on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., a Black man who was murdered because of his powerful words and ideas of racial and economic justice, interconnection, and love—the same ideas that continue to inspire me and millions of others. And in a couple of days, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take office, marking the end of arguably the most abusive and divisive presidential term in U.S. history. And here at YES!, this new year marks 25 years of service to a vision of a more just, sustainable, and compassionate world. And while this organization is celebrating the progress that’s been made, we’re also devastated by widening cultural chasms and the human-caused destruction of the very systems that support life on Earth. 

Scene from Lincoln Memorial across the reflecting pond.

When my anger, frustration, and fear begin to cross over into hate, MLK’s words help bring me back: “I have decided to stick with love. … Hate is too great a burden to bear.”  In this collective work of transformational change, love is the force behind so many things. Love is clear-eyed acknowledgement of things as they really are. Love is holding onto a vision of something better. Love is courage to do the right thing even when it’s hard. Love is faith that things can change, and as MLK said, “faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  

So YES! is starting 2021 with this visionary issue about the first steps people everywhere are taking to create a life-affirming civilization.

Bronze statue of MLK sheltering, and leading two young children.
Click to enlarge — Back to Return

In many ways, this issue brings YES! full circle to its 1996 roots. YES! founders recognized that the disconnected movements for the environment, social justice, a new economy, and personal transformation were in fact collectively creating a shift in culture. The very first issue of YES! featured a piece by co-founder David Korten that outlined the YES! vision of a humanity “poised to assume conscious collective responsibility for creating its own future.” 

I am one of millions who have been inspired by this vision because its core principle is love for every living thing and their connections to each other. And as we deepen our understanding of racial and other systems of oppression, that vision has expanded to include a love that liberates.

As I help shepherd YES! into the next 25 years, I owe a debt of gratitude to YES! co-founders David Korten and Sarah van Gelder, and the thousands of past writers, supporters, staffers, and volunteers upon whose efforts we build. And I look forward to seeing you on the staircase!

Christine Hanna

PS: I hope you’ll read the interview with David Korten on the next page. After 25 years of service to YES!, he retired as board chair. If David has inspired you, too, over the years, send him a note of thanks to thanksdavid@yesmagazine.org.

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