This weekend we, as a nation, will commemorate the life and prophetic leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and prohibiting unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodations. We have indeed made great strides — of course, I say that as a tall white man with all of the social advantages that come with that reality, but perhaps we have not come as far as we might have thought.
Over the course of the past few years, it seems as if the poison of racism and prejudice is once again being spewed upon our society in a very real, visible, and public way. This is troubling and tragic. Even in our own home town of Princeton, police and local authorities were put on full alert because of a planned march by a white supremacist group, the New Jersey European Heritage Associatio; which the NJEHA now claims was a hoax to “punk” us.
We, as followers of Jesus Christ, cannot stand idly by doing nothing in the presence of the evil of hate. We are called to be people who unite, love, embrace, and welcome.
This weekend, as we give thanks for the transformative life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we must remind ourselves that the work is not done, not by a long shot. We must keep the dream alive! The day when we will not be judged by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character. Someday, one day — the dream will come true!
The Rev. Paul Jeanes III