The highlight of this past week for me–the week we celebrate each year the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.–was the opportunity to hear Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery speak at the University of Rochester in western New York on Friday evening, January 22.
Lowery worked closely with Dr. King, helped organize the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), and delivered the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration. Dubbed the “Dean of the Civil Rights Movement” by the NAACP, Lowery has been working for social justice since before I was born more than 50 years ago. What a privilege it was to hear him speak about “Civil Rights: The Courage, Persistence, and Vision of a Movement.”
“The price of liberty is eternal vigilence,” he said. “Keep the pressure on! Agitate! There is no substitute for creative pressure.” Injustice continues to thrive in the world. Rev. Lowery should know. He’s 88-years old and continues to work for justice and peace. He encouraged us to focus not just on Dr. King’s Dream, but to read his Letter from the Birmingham Jail.
Justice delayed is justice denied. This remains as true today as ever. As Rev. Lowery reminded us on Friday, “Everything has changed and nothing has changed.”