Just Mercy: Reflections on Mission Trip 

August 14, 2018

In 1963 I was a high school sophomore when several Civil Rights events took place: Medgar Evers was assassinated by a white supremacist and Klansman in Mississippi; the March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech; and the KKK bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham where four young girls lost their lives. Then in November, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

My younger self knew these were significant events, but they felt very distant from my life. The Civil Rights trip brought all of these events to the forefront of my mind and heart. Several of our tour guides had participated in these events and shared their remembrances with passion and purpose. Standing on the steps of Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma where the marchers gathered before crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge really brought home to me their bravery and determination. My eyes filled with tears as I followed their steps across the bridge in a downpour, and later our bus drove the 50 miles they walked to Montgomery to demand their voting rights.

Now, over 50 years later, those voting rights are again under attack. I am disheartened, but still determined, to pressure our legislators to protect and preserve those hard-earned rights for all Americans. This is why I wear a small button from a museum that reads, “The March Continues.” 

Rev. Donene Blair

Topics: Church Life, Events


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