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Image by Milad Fakurian
  • Writer's pictureFirst Christian Church of Chicago

Heart–to-Hartin - Feb. 2020

On MLK Day in January, Stacee and I had a Google Meet conversation with six

FCC students about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We read

his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and we watched a YouTube video from

the 1963 March on Washington when the speech was given. This conversation

gave Stacee and me some insights into what our youth are thinking as our

nation continues to wrestle with the issue of racism.

Our students pointed out connections between the issues being addressed in

Dr. King’s day and those that we’re facing in the present. They concluded that,

in many ways, nothing has really changed with regard to racial injustice in

America in the 58 years since Dr. King’s speech was given. In their view, the

election of our nation’s first African-American president contributed to a false

perception that our nation had moved on from the racism of its past. The

unfolding of events since Barack Obama left office seems to have revealed a

disturbing undercurrent of racism in America which had never been fully

eradicated but lay dormant for some time.

When I asked the students what they can do personally to advance the cause

of racial equality in America, one student expressed doubt that anything he

could do would make any difference. In his mind, things will never change no

matter what we do. Another student challenged his view and expressed a

more optimistic perspective which emphasized the importance of young

people working together and using their voices to speak out against injustice.

Another student asserted that our youth have more power than they realize

and should find creative ways to harness that power for the good of our nation

and our world.

What can we adults do to encourage our youth and give them hope for a

better future? As believers, our commitment to being followers of Jesus must

include a commitment to anti-racism. This commitment must be evident to our

children and must be demonstrated through our interactions with others, both

as a church body and as individuals. Furthermore, we must find ways to create

spaces for our young people to use their gifts and knowledge to bring about

change. The Father has given our students talents and ideas which need to be

nurtured and supported by you and me. Let us believe that things can and will

change through the power of God working in us—as well as in our youth.


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