National holidays are meant to call us to reflect and act on what we celebrate. Dr. King was the conscience of the nation. He reminded us of our best selves and the need to recommit ourselves to the proposition “that all are created equal with certain inalienable rights.”
In our day, once again, the cancer of “white supremacy” is strong, vibrant and determined to deny human dignity and value to citizens of color.
Our nation experiences the movement to deny the vote to people of color, the refusal to accept the truth of our history of slavery—and our attempt to expunge it from the history texts of our classrooms, the growing economic disparity between rich and poor—and rich often means “white” and poor often means “black”.
I grew up in the 50’s and the 60’s—the struggles of the civil rights movement. This movement was a religious crusade; our own auxiliary bishop, James Shannon, joined Dr. King and Rabbi Abraham Heschel in Selma Alabama and witnessed to the corner stone of Judeo-Christian faith that all people, without regard to color or nationality or religion or ethnicity or sexual orientation are “created in the very image and likeness of God.”
Let us pray and work that this spirit be reborn in our nation.
Fr. Steve Adrian