As Minneapolis riots and racial violence is occurring across the United States its time to recall the prophetic words of Robert F. Kennedy. Spoken to a black crowd in Indianapolis after Martin Lither King’s assassination in Memphis they still hold truth today. Please listen to his speech and process it. The United States needs to hear these words.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
From Martin Luther King’s a Letter from Birmingham Jail.
Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Robert F Kennedy’s speech on April 4, 1968.
Last night I was up until about 3:00 in the morning reading about the rioting in Minneapolis in the Washington Post. I felt sick by what I was reading. I watched the video of the police precinct burning, some of the political speeches and some people pouring gasoline on the situation through Twitter. I was a senior in high school when the Los Angeles riots happened in 1992. As I read the news and upheaval I was disturbed. a great injustice happened in Minneapolis on Memorial Day with George Floyd. Yes he was murdered by a police officer. Today I watched the news and saw disturbances in Louisville, Denver, and other cities. People have a right to be angry. If you are not angry then I would question your humanity.
This has been a crazy week. The pandemic is still ongoing and I have more posts in the works about evangelicals and COVID-19. There are a couple of more posts about Jon Steingard and doubt. I saw a couple of issues in the EFCA and this blog has another church story to tell. Against all this racial issues and evangelicalism have raised their head. A few days ago I wrote about Eric Metaxas, but there is another post I planned to do about him engaging in black face on Twitter. But then when Minneapolis erupted I know that there were a couple of issues to explore. This blog is paying attention to the EFCA churches and the George Floyd situation. But before I can find the time to get into those issues its time to draw your attention to a speech that Robert F. Kennedy gave in 1968. Its true today as it was on the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination.
On April 4, 1968 at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee Martin Luther King was shot and killed. As news came that King was killed riots erupted in cities such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Trenton, Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati,Louisville and many others. Robert F Kennedy was running for president and was in Indiana when the news came. From what I learned in history this is what happened next and it kept Indianapolis from erupting in violence also. In an inner city neighborhood and without much preparation Robert F. Kennedy spoke from the back of a flatbed truck. He informed the blacks there of Kings death. He implored them not to embrace violence even recalling how his own family last a person to violence. He reacted with calm and quoted his favorite poet Aeschylus of Ancient Greece. In American history its considered one of the most impacting modern speeches made. You can watch it up above.
If you are in Minnesota or another part of the country and you are upset over what happened with George Floyd, you have every reason to be. But please do not resort to violence. We don’t need more division in the United States we need healing and to come together. And that can be done. But that won’t happen if people choose violence. My hope is that those angry over what happened to George Floyd by a Minneapolis Policeman will take Robert Kennedy’s words to heart. They still apply. They still speak to Minneapolis and so many other cities in the United States. Another tragedy as well is that two months after that speech in Indianapolis, Robert Kennedy would be shot and killed in Los Angeles. That is just as tragic. But for the time being let’s not let ourselves be divided. That is not a way to remember George Floyd either. Let’s work to address injustice.