Wednesday of this week will be the 53rd anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" - the brutal beating of peaceful marchers by Alabama State Troopers as the marchers attempted to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way from Selma to Montgomery to protest the killing of an unarmed black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, and to advocate for voting rights. John Lewis a leader of that march who became an icon of the civil rights movement was severely beaten that day. In a book of civil rights related photos that we have in our home, there is a picture of John Lewis and the marchers in front of the state troopers moments before the troopers attacked them. I had the privilege of meeting John Lewis and having him sign that picture. He not only signed his name but also added the phrase "Get In the Way." I found out later that this is how he regularly responds to requests for his signature. This is an ongoing challenge to confront injustice through non-violent resistance. The following video is a recent interview with John Lewis during his annual return to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate that pivotal event in the civil rights movement. He not only recalls that time in March 1965 but reflects on the hope he sees in the current developing movement led by students and women.
After viewing the interview with John Lewis, I urge you to watch the following short video that highlights some of the student led movement since the horrific mass shooting deaths in Parkland, FL. These young people are following Lewis' example and call to "Get In the Way." This is not popular among those who are invested in the status quo. You will notice that most of the comments under the video are critical rather than supportive.
Yet this is how change happens - people of all ages who are willing to pay the price of challenging the way things are with the hope and faith that the words so often quoted by Dr. King are true, "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice." How might God be calling you and me to Get In the Way?