So most of you know that February is Black History Month, and yesterday at my church, our congregation chose to honor influential and inspirational black men and women of this country with different readings about black historical figures. From the pulpit, members of our church lifted up the contributions of Ella Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, Gordon Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr.
It was particularly moving to hear an African man from our congregation read a portion of the I Have a Dream speech with his distinct accent, which reminded me all the more of the long journey it has been for men and women of color in this nation. Another moving moment for me was looking out from my chair in front of the congregation to see that our congregation really does represent black and white working hand in hand for justice in the community. Our congregation in North Plainfield is multiracial and proud of their diversity, which is significant especially in a community where only a few years ago the racial violence from the riots in Newark poured over onto Plainfield’s city streets.
It was also poignant that a white man, who was the liturgist yesterday, got up after the readings and thanked individuals form our church for telling these inspirational stories, but also reminded us that we have quite a long way to go. I am continually grown as a person, and a person of faith in this place, and it is for moments like these that I am grateful.