On this day 55 years ago, President Kennedy gave a major speech in support of the civil rights movement. At the beginning of his presidency, he did not consider civil rights to be a major focus of his administration. Yet he grew to realize that racial justice was a moral issue at the heart of our nation's professed principle of liberty and justice for all. His words in the video segment included below still ring true today. Although racial segregation is no longer legal in any part of our nation, racial injustice is still present in all parts of our nation. Take a few minutes to reflect on President Kennedy's words from 1963 and how they still call us to greater levels of love and justice today.
On the night that President Kennedy gave this speech, Medgar Evers was the field secretary for the NAACP in Mississippi. He worked tirelessly for racial justice in a part of the nation that was most resistant to changing the way of life under Jim Crow segregation. He listened to President Kennedy with a deep sense of joy and hope. Yet a few hours after the speech, Medgar Evers was shot in the back in the driveway of his home and died that night. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. I make it a point to visit his grave whenever I am at that cemetery. The video below shares the tragic story of his sudden and violent death. Taken together, President Kennedy's speech and the death of Medgar Evers remind us of God's call to c to the vision of racial justice/reconciliation and the cost of commitment to that vision. How is God calling you and me to continue the journey for racial justice/reconciliation in June 2018?