I was born two days after the March on Washington. My momma told me she went into labor on the 28th of August in 1963, but that I must have heard some folks were marching that day for jobs and freedom and I decided to wait and see how things turned out before I came into the world.
53 years later, we’re still marching. But I’m glad I came on anyway.
My momma and daddy didn’t go to Washington in 1963, but they were part of the movement that did. When the pastor my daddy preached for in Indianapolis that Sunday got back home, he and others told them about what Dr. King had said. He’d said, “Go home.” Go home to Mississippi, to Alabama. Go home to Indianapolis. Go home and build a movement that can move Washington from the deadlock of partisan division to higher ground.
Since April 4th this year, when we commissioned this Moral Revival Tour on the same day and in the same place where Dr. King had called for a “moral revolution of values” in 1967, we have crisscrossed America, listening to the stories of people who are living with their backs against the wall. In Raleigh, North Carolina, a transgender student who had come from Charlotte shared that her mother was scared to let her come out to a revival meeting because she worried that a church would not be a safe space. In Birmingham, Alabama, workers shared about how they had won a living wage campaign in their city only to see extremists in their state house override the local municipality and make living wage ordinances illegal. In Philadelphia, a man who was locked up shared about how hard it is to move on in our society, even after you’ve done your time.
These testimony times have been some of the most powerful experiences of this revival for me. They’ve helped me to see more clearly why Dr. King told all those people who traveled to DC 53 years ago to go home. Because on the ground in local communities, listening to the stories of people who may never go to Washington, we see clearly that Washington and our nation need nothing less than a Third Reconstruction.
A couple of weekends ago, I was in Richmond, Virginia with 10,000 workers who’d come from all across America to confer with one another about the Fight for 15. Speaking to them in front of a statue of Robert E. Lee, in the former capitol of the Confederacy, I thought about how many of the folks we’ve heard from on this revival tour feel rejected. Though this nation runs on their labor, those workers have been rejected by our society. But as I looked out at them on that hot August afternoon, I told them that the Bible I read says, “The stone that the builder rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”
There is power when stones that have been rejected come together. Every reconstruction this nation has ever experienced has happened when poor whites and freed blacks came together, when Christians and Jews came together, when labor and civil rights came together, when women and men came together to work for a more perfect union. There is a revival in the land today because the stones that have been rejected are coming together. The Fight for 15 is joining hands with Black Lives Matter. The fight for healthcare is linking up with immigrant’s rights, and the LGBTQ community is standing with advocates for voting rights. As we get together in cities across this land, we are experiencing that there is a power present that’s greater than the sum of our parts.
53 years after I paused on my way into this world, I’m going to Washington. But I’m not going alone. I’m going with a moral movement that is the cornerstone for the Third Reconstruction this nation desperately needs.
If you're in the DC area, join us at Pennsylvania Ave Baptist Church, 5pm on Sunday, August 28th (53rd Anniversary of the March on Washington). Please help us spread the word. Revival details are here:
Whether you can be with us in person or not, please consider making a donation to the Moral Revival. We do not charge host cities or churches to come. This movement is sustained by the investment of people who are being built together into the America that has not yet been.