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.