Why We Can’t Wait

In January we gathered with partners from around the St. Louis region to remember the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King. Our keynote speaker, Rev. Starsky Wilson, charged us:

“Personal pietism will not repair the breach.
Relational or racial reconciliation will not restore streets to live in.
Social services, even coordinated wraparound services, will not build a community.
Satisfying the needs of the afflicted with their diverse categories, and their diffuse interests, and their disparate life outcomes, requires promoting public policy for parity among people.
It is our obligation as people of faith to advocate, organize, push, prop, and provoke action to ensure equality for all God’s children. ”

Rev. Wilson co-chaired the Ferguson Commission, whose working groups delivered recommendations focused on pursuing racial equity by reforming abusive legislation. We urge you to read the report.

The work continues and there is much to do. At our gathering in January, Rev. Traci Blackmon, herself a member of the Ferguson Commission, charged us to remember Martin Luther King as more than a dreamer, and to move beyond speaking up – to showing up.  Dr. King gave his last sermon 48 years ago, April 3rd 1968, and the world he perceived has not changed much: “Something is happening in our world today, the people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, the cry is the same – we want to be free.”

The people assembling in St. Louis city and county are mobilizing to demand changes on pressing issues like the school to prison pipeline, biased practices among police and in municipal courts. Faith for Justice is joining with partners who are leading the way in addressing two major issues in our region: voter suppression and mass incarceration.

“Now is the time to wake up and face the day…Social Justice is not specialized ministry, it is the substance of ministry. It is not the ministry gift, it is the ministry giver” We were reminded by Starsky, Traci, Bum and others in January that “staying woke means showing up”. And more than that, it means taking action to repair and ennoble our communities.
In this day of tokenism disguised as equity, we cannot presume that oppression will fade out on its own. We must fight it out, vote it out, teach it out.

As Dr. King said,  “The words ‘bad timing’ came to be ghosts haunting our every move… we must use time creatively with the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”     This is why we can’t wait.

 

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photograph by Raquita Henderson, pinxit photo
Poster Design, Brady Hardin