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What is Beloved Community?

Although the idea behind the beloved community is timeless, the phrase was first used by philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce (1855-1916) who founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation. It was then popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) and the civil rights movement and became one of Dr. King's most important social justice themes. The idea lives on today in the many anti-racist and social justice movements throughout the world. 

Here are five defining characteristics of the beloved community: 


  • Given our shared desire to be peaceful, happy, and safe, the beloved community describes a practical, realistic, and achievable society.


  • In the beloved community, conflict still exists, but it is resolved peacefully, nonviolently, and without hostility, ill will, or resentment.


  • In the beloved community, we appreciate and recognize the inherent worth and value of all people, animals, and ecosystems.

  • In the beloved community, we are motivated by kindness, compassion, and love for all life. We work cooperatively to peacefully end racism, hunger, poverty, homelessness, environmental destruction, violence and social inequity and injustice of all kinds.

  • In the beloved community, the means we use to create change are just as kind and compassionate as the ends we seek. Our commitment to unconditional and all-inclusive kindness and goodwill allows the beloved community to become what Dr. King called "an engine of reconciliation."

What can I do to help build Beloved Community?

All of us can do the inner work necessary to become members of and grow Beloved Community. This inner work refines our hearts, minds, and spirits to let go of the fear, greed, hate, bias, blame, and falsehood that reside there. As these forces are weakened and eroded, our infinite and all-inclusive kindness, compassion, and goodwill (which were buried underneath them) shine through. Through this inner work, we learn how to unconditionally love, forgive, and offer compassion and kindness to ourselves and others. By learning these skills, we are then more able to love, forgive, radically include, offer compassion and kindness, have patience with, and be reconciled with others --
especially those who look, speak, worship, think, love, and live differently than ourselves.



The Boundless Love Project ( – revised and reprinted with permission.

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