A simple act of sitting with our neighbors. They chose not to remain silent. We admit that while most of us weren't there, we can work today to make sure that any student, child, or person will never have to walk alone to join the oppressed in Birmingham Alabama.
Let's look at strangers and see the image of God.
Hope happens and I want to be a part of it. Violence, exclusion, and oppression will not have the final say. You continue to guide us in hope, faith, and love. You've sent us heroes. The greatest act of love is often the simplest. We choose. It's a journey we should have started a long time ago but we pray it isn't too late to begin. Step by step....
Help us to become the college that Marti would be proud of. That you would be proud of.
Lead us forward ever, amen.
Wondering what I'm talking about? What this: http://vimeo.com/64814896
Dear God -
We confess to you that Birmingham-Southern did not get it right in 1963. When Marti walked that day on April 24th she walked alone. She joined other *people* in a simple act - a humble and peaceful act - of defiance. At our worst, we claimed that your guidance led us to separate humanity from humanity. At our best, as an institution we allowed a college student - a YOUNG WOMAN named Marti Turnipseed - to bear, in her act of compassion, the full brunt of the establishment with our shameful silence. We let her down. We let our black sisters and brothers down. We let our city down. We let you down.
For that we ask your forgiveness.
Today, 50 years later, we walk with Marti. We march to join her in a simple act of sitting with our neighbors. We march to join those who didn’t choose violence but didn’t choose to remain silent. We march to join those who faced the hoses, the dogs, and everything Bull Conner and the rest of Birmingham could throw at them. We march to admit, that while most of us weren’t there, we can work today to make sure any student, any child, any person, will never have to walk alone to join the oppressed in Birmingham, Alabama. Today isn’t just about the past. It is about the future. It is about moving forward, ever - TOGETHER with this city that we love.
On this day, we choose to join our journey with Marti and your hope for anyone who is brave enough to look at a stranger and see the image of God. Hope Happens. And we want to be a part of it.
Hope Happens, because Marti Turnipseed did what she knew was right. Hope happens because violence, exclusion, and oppression won’t have the final say. Hope happens, because while we cannot change the past, the future can still be determined. Hope happens because you continue to guide us to hope, faith, and love. Hope happens because you’ve sent us heroes to lead the way. Heroes like Marti. Heroes too numerous to name but so vital because they taught us the greatest acts of love are often the simplest.
This isn’t just some two mile walk into downtown Birmingham* because we have the time and need the publicity. It is a journey that Marti Turnipseed made that shone a light into the heart of BSC as an institution and every man, woman, and student who claimed to be about higher learning. It is a journey that *we choose* to make every day from this day forward to seek justice, mercy, and peace. It is a journey that we should have started a long time ago but pray it isn’t too late to begin. Step by step we pray Marti’s journey can be our own.
Merciful God, We pray for a safe and joyful march from here to Kelly Ingram Park. Help us sing, help us laugh, help us to become the college that Marti would be proud of. May we honor her memory today and every chance we get. Through your grace may we work for a better BSC, a better Birmingham, a better Alabama, and a better world. Lead us, Forward Ever. Amen.
* - it was brought to my attention that the march was actually 2.8 miles. Live and learn.