I ask you to read and reflect on the attached document below. It’s a process and struggle that continues today. The reflection is from the 1960s – another chaotic time with major shifts taking place. I believe it’s applicable and timely for the 2000s. The facts, as we continue to see and hear, are multiple and complex; perspectives and experiences contrast and conflict. In the midst of this many believe we are at a crisis point in our democracy. . . It hasn’t happened overnite. As a nation we have a long legacy of developing our belief in equality and human rights of all peoples – women, children’s rights, people of color, LGBT people, immigrants, ETC!
To identify a few startling events from our past: MLK, Jr. shot and killed during Holy Week in 1968, Timothy Thomas, an unarmed 19 yr. old in Cincinnati, shot and killed during Holy Week of 2001. Today, black men, women and children continue to be maimed, wounded and/or killed, not just through police brutality but also through economic injustice and stereotypical negative assumptions. The result throughout our country’s history has been an enduring clash between a white power structure and the lives of the underserved and marginalized .
Baltimore’s racial history and today’s reality reflects a city within a city. People of color living in poverty are living a nightmare, not the ‘American Dream’. It’s been crystallized in the life and death of Freddy Gray, a 25 year old man killed in police custody. The recent killings of other black men highlight the threat to human life, human community and U.S. democracy.
We need to spend time struggling with this shadow side of our country – with us since its inception. Years ago Alexis de Toqueville, a French historian visiting the new America in 1831, wondered whether this ‘new American experiment’ was going to be able to survive. What do you think? How can we insure our life as a nation? Do we have the political and moral will?