Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Reaching across and reducing the divide

Photo:  Getty Images
This photo was posted on Huffington Post without comment, but here is what I see in the picture.   A young black boy has brought a white police officer a flower in a vase.   The officer, obviously touched, hugged the boy.

Robert Kennedy was a presidential candidate campaigning in Indianapolis on April 4, 1968 when he had to announce to the crowd that Martin Luther King, Jr. had just been assassinated in Memphis.   Standing on the back of a flatbed truck, Bobby Kennedy said to the stricken crowd:
 "What we need in the United States is not hatred;   what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness but is love, and wisdom and compassion toward one another and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black."
Kennedy, himself, would also be struck down by an assassin's bullets just two months later on June 6, 1968 after having just won the California Democratic Primary.   Following the assassination of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, five years earlier, Bobby Kennedy had seemed transformed into an active campaigner for civil rights and justice.   On that fateful day of the loss of Dr. King, Bobby Kennedy had the same message that we so terribly need now:  of love over hate, and justice for those who suffer unequal treatment .

It seems we have to re-discover it again each time a senseless loss is so shattering.   It is poignant to be reminded of it now, but have we learned nothing, solved nothing, in the almost 50 years since?


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