We want to applaud President Biden’s inaugural speech. He spoke about the need for unity in the country. Yet for real unity, then and now, it must be conditioned on justice and accountably — on the affirmation of the principles the South had rejected.
A “just and lasting peace” means fidelity to democracy, to the sanctity of elections and to honest, fact-based public debate. Indeed, there cannot be unity today without accountability and without justice.
When we look around us, we find more complacency than attempts at change for justice. Speaking to a member of the community, he mentioned he first came to this area 20 years ago. After leaving for an extended period and recently returning, he describes this city as showing some change, but where it is important, things are basically the same. On MLK Day, we rode around the city, visiting some people we consider friends. As we drove, we couldn’t help but notice several businesses were closed. They were mainly banks and government agencies. Basically they were compliant. Most other businesses seemed to be rather complacent where the holiday was concerned; open for business as usual.
Far too often we accept things as they are because “that’s how it’s always been.” We comfortably exist in complacency, failing to contemplate, what if it were different? We don’t hold ourselves or others accountable to change to move toward real unity.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was not complacent. Leaders, followers and contributors of the Civil Rights Movement were not complacent.
We shudder to think, with the strides we’ve made since the 1960’s, as conscious individuals, what life would be like for most of us had they been complacent and did not hold themselves and other accountable towards racial justice.
We cannot afford complacency and it is not always good to simply be compliant, going along to get along. Change is good and if we believe in Dr. King’s dream, which is not yet a reality, we need to move away from complacency and keep the dream alive, which is freedom and justice for all.
Craig and Sharon Butts, Unity in the Community
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