Celebrating King’s Birthday with Rev. Barber

Today Ruby and I went to the annual Martin Luther King Jr. day rally and church service in Chapel Hill. We walked up to the post office where the towns rallies are usually held and listened to several local politicians, activists, pastors, students, and raging grannies. (The raging grannies are a group of liberal singing senior citizens. I never knew any liberal senior citizens before I moved to Chapel Hill… Wow.)

The highlight of my day was hearing Rev. Dr. William Barber II speak. Rev. Barber is the new president of the North Carolina conference of the NAACP. The theme of his sermon was “Silence is Betrayal”. It’s a quote from Martin Luther King’s speech at Riverside Church in New York on April 4, 1967. Dr. King was speaking out against an “unjust, evil and futile war” in Vietnam. Rev. Barber was speaking out against the “unjust, evil and futile war” in Iraq. The parallels between that time and now are scary. I’m so happy we have strong people to speak the truth. No matter how hard it is for some people to hear.

Bellow is a podcast Ruby and I recorded of our feelings of today events. Ruby has also blogged about it over at lotusmedia.org.

January 16 is now my favorite day of the year. I felt as if I might cry the whole time I was listening to Rev. Barber. Not tears of sadness but of relief that someone who could so eloquently and captivatingly tell all these people that WE MUST SPEAK UP!

MP3 13m 36s 6.3MB 64Kbps 44.1Mhz

One thought on “Celebrating King’s Birthday with Rev. Barber”

  1. Here’s a great letter to the editor of the Greensboro News & Record, also discussing why silence in betrayal: http://blog.news-record.com/staff/letters/archives/2006/01/kings_call_for_1.html

    In 1986, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday became a holiday. In those 20 years, “I have a dream” has become part of every schoolchild’s education. Institutions from the White House to McDonald’s claim the right to honor Dr. King’s memory.

    In those same 20 years, the U.S. government has dismantled social programs and civil liberties, sent our sons and daughters abroad to war, and consistently favored the interests of the wealthy over the rights of the poor. Thirty-eight years after his death, Dr. King’s work remains as urgent as ever.

    Martin Luther King Jr. was a visionary, not a dreamer. A year before he died he spoke out against the war in Vietnam, describing the U.S. government as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

    His call was for action. “For the sake of this government,” he said, “for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.” We can’t honor Dr. King and remain silent.

    On March 18, the third anniversary of the war in Iraq, North Carolinians will again gather to honor the fallen by ending that war. Details are at http://www.NCpeacejustice.org.

    Liz Seymour

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