August 28, 2013

This week we mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the occasion of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” address.Fifty years later, much of the agenda of the March is still “unfinished business.” The list is long, and it begins with overturning the Supreme Court decision to reverse key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1964, for which so much sacrifice and blood was shed.Institutional racism still excludes many African Americans from access to quality education, health care or housing. Black unemployment for youth is 25% in many urban areas, and 38% of African American children still live in poverty.

The March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy are reminders to all of us of the unfinshed work we have to do to end the violence of racism, the violence of poverty, and the violence of war, wherever they occur. We cannot neglect one of those evils, and hope to accomplish either of the other two. That was the challenge that Dr. King put before us, and the invitation to be part of building the “beloved community.”