While vacationing in the Caribbean in January – February 1967, Dr. ML King, Jr. wrote the 1st draft of his last book “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” King looks back at the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. In his book, Dr. King discusses what African-Americans should do with their new, dearly fought for freedoms found in-laws such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He concludes that all Americans black and white must unite to fight poverty and create a new equality of opportunity.
Today I ask the same question, “Where do we go from here?” It’s not time to riot – it’s time to be prudent, disciplined, strategic, & wise. Proverbs 22:3 suggest, “the prudent see danger & take refuge, but the simple keep on going & pay the penalty.” What’s the point: Wise people see the approach of sin and remove themselves from it, while naïve people walk right into it and suffer the consequences.
With the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it is time for the Department of Justice to act. The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life — was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin.
Next, I urge Trayvon’s family to file a civil suit so that Mr. Zimmerman will not profit from Trayvon’s death. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has called on the Obama administration to pursue civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. “Attorney General Eric Holder,” the petition reads, “The Department of Justice has closely monitored the State of Florida’s prosecution of the case against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin murder since it began. Today, with the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it is time for the Department of Justice to act.” I agree wholeheartedly.
Finally, I urge all to boycott Florida just as many did in 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. The Birmingham campaign was a model of direct action protest, as it effectively shut the city and, through the media, drew the world’s attention to racial segregation in the South. It burnished King’s reputation, ousted Police Chief Bull Connor from his job, forced desegregation in Birmingham, and paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in hiring practices and public services in the United States. I am scheduled to vacation in Florida in August. We cancelled our vacation & will go elsewhere. I won’t bring my family’s money & tourism to Florida & urge you to do the same.
In closing, while sitting in a Birmingham jail, Dr. King wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If we allow wrong to happen in one place, then we set the foundation for it to happen anywhere. A democratic society based on the idea that everyone is equal, which means we have to take the view that anyone subject to injustice is being treated as unequal, which breaks down the foundation of societal development and well-being.
Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,
Pastor Clarence E. Stowers, Jr.
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