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Let Justice Roll

August 28th, 2013by Deacon Royce Winters

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:24

Over the past few months, I’ve been working with office directors and a committee of people to plan an event that would celebrate and honor the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.  On that historic day over 250,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to stand against injustice, hatred and bigotry.  On that day, they heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., deliver his iconic “I Have A Dream Speech.”

All of my children were born at least 20 years after this event and it was striking that after watching the movie, “The Butler,” my oldest child told her mother, “I didn’t know you and dad had to endure such hatred and intolerance.”  We now have generations of people, who know the world as it is or as they see it with no perspective of history’s influence on American society in this 21st Century.

When we fail to use a historic lens to discern where we are going or where we want to go, we are apt to see this 50th Anniversary Celebration as a way to reminisce about old times.  And, in doing so, we dishonor the martyrs and the men and women who endured persecution for the sake of freedom and justice.

In their march on Washington, Americans demanded that the U.S. Government do it part to uphold the hope declared in the Declaration of Independence, “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”

On this day and every day of our lives, we stand on the shoulders of the men and women of every race, color and creed who gathered in the nation’s capital to demand “comprehensive and effective civil rights legislation from the present Congress – without compromise or filibuster – to guarantee all Americans: access to all public accommodations; decent housing, adequate and integrated education; and, the right to vote.”  Excerpt from the original document – March on Washington, August 28, 1963

So, it is that on August 28, 2013, we will celebrate and remember a day in America’s history when people responded to the clarion call for justice in America.  May we honor them in this 21st Century by standing together against the systemic ills of our American society: racism, injustice, hatred and intolerance.

Deacon Royce Winters

Deacon Royce Winters is the director of African American Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He has been married for 36 years and his wife, children and grandchildren all attend Church of the Resurrection in Bond Hill.