… and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8

Discussing “racism” is difficult for many of us. However, the fears within this word must be addressed. The tragedy in Charleston, S.C., on June 17, 2015 sparked a light that had to be shined for the way the victims’ families and communities responded through love and forgiveness. This was the inspiration behind “Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America.”

If you have not viewed “Shining a Light”” already, I highly recommend it. Not only are the songs that were selected by the dedicated diverse artists powerful and meaningful, the hour-long conversations from Charleston; Ferguson and Baltimore open a dialogue on the realities and truth of the current racial struggles we still face in today’s society. The conversations are very black and white due to the open racial hatred that African Americans have been faced with – especially over the last several years – and that has directly impacted their communities. If it had not been for the artists, media and organizations promoting this important topic, the oppressed and voiceless people would still be unheard.

Racism will always be alive and well, but if we want to live in a world of possibilities for all people, let’s continue the conversations with truths – the truth of racial disparities between law enforcement and black males, the truth of racial profiling in black communities, and the truth of the unjust justice system that targets minorities – just to highlight some of the discussion topics.

Today we celebrate the birthday of a great man, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who still has a light burning at his gravesite to remind us of where we were, where we are and where we aspire to be. But the best light of all is that bright star that showed the way to the promised Christ child sent to love us all equally. Where is your light? 


Jackie Maddox, ELCA Advocacy