This past monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. day, and it is one of my favorite traditions that the saturday before would be a day of service to honor the clergyman, activist, and non-violent leader of the civil rights movement. The YAVs took an opportunity to serve at a food bank which is operated by Jefferson Presbyterian Church.
It was a really great morning. Personally, I enjoyed the company much more that the work as my job was to hang out at the NyQuil table and see that each family only took one. So, as you can guess, I quickly found other ways to amuse myself such as finding creative ways to arrange the bottles and having a dance off with a little girl. Though our jobs were not strenuous, we gladly helped oversee the distribution of food and met so many kind and caring people. It was really encouraging to be a part of actively meeting the needs of the vulnerable in our community, something I believe Dr. King would be proud of.
Sadly, on Martin Luther King, Jr. day itself, 5 people were shot on MLK Boulevard in New Orleans, and as I headed home from the port that night I thought of the many ways that Dr. King’s dream is still a dream, a point in the future, drawing those of us who believe his message forward.
As New Orleans YAVs, We live in a city where a young man has a worse chance of surviving than in Afghanistan according to the mayor. We live in a state that is in the top ten in executions per capita. We live in a state that imprisons more people per capita than any in our country. We live in a nation where the people who are faced with taking the brunt of these and many other disproportionatetly distributed atrocities are African American. Approximately half of the US citizens imprisoned today are African American, more than were enslaved before the Civil War.
So this weekend I was encouraged to see the good that can come from a caring community, but I pray, as I hope you will, for the day when Dr. King’s dream would come true. In fact, that beyond Dr. King’s dream, that God’s kingdom would come, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
-grace and peace