A few weeks back my buddy Mike and I were riding motorcycles across Tennessee. We stopped in Memphis for the night and ended up eating BBQ across from this Retro looking hotel. After eating we wondered over to check it out.
The Lorraine Motel was the location where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4th 1968. A short 48 years ago. Standing there, the air sitting upon my shoulders felt significantly heavier. You could feel the weight and the significance of that location. It made me emotional; you could feel the intersection of love and hate.
On that day Presidential candidate Robert F. "Bobby" Kennedy was on his way to Indianapolis for a campaign rally when he was informed of King's death. Despite fears of riots and concerns for his safety, Kennedy went ahead with plans to attend a rally at 17th and Broadway in the heart of Indianapolis's African-American ghetto. Several of Kennedy's aides were worried that his speech would result in a riot and advised him against attending the Rally. That evening Kennedy addressed the crowd.
Kennedy spoke of the threat of disillusion and divisiveness at King's death and reminded the audience of King's efforts to
Kennedy then delivered one of his most well-remembered remarks:
To conclude, Kennedy reiterated his belief that the country needed and wanted unity between blacks and whites and encouraged the country to
We have lost great leaders but that does not mean we have to forget where we have come and lose direction as a country or a community. This speech and these principles are as applicable today as they were that historically significant day. I have seen young black men murdered in cold blood without consequences. I have seen police officers murdered while working a job in which they have dedicated their lives to protecting our communities. Both of these are wrong.
This is our problem to fix. We need to implement change on both sides of this issue. We need to start the discussion to include and consider perspectives contrary to the ones we currently hold. We need to formulate a solution we can work towards. It has to start with love, wisdom, and compassion toward one another. We need to stand boldly as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. "Bobby" Kenned did that day. We need strong leaders in the Police Force and in all communities who are willing to take a stand and speak out that we can no longer keep going in this direction and that it is time for change. I cannot let this mindless violence continue. We can do better than this.