I know that others have written and will write about the March For Our Lives events yesterday in Washington DC, in Atlanta, in Los Angeles, and in some 800-plus cities around the world, but I must write, too. I must bear witness to what I saw, heard, and felt. I was deeply moved as I watched the Washington DC event play out on the TV screen. I listened to the young people of Parkland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Newtown speak and uncontrollable tears of present sadness and future hope rolled down my cheeks. Those young people were not just speaking out about gun violence, they were “preachers” of Good News. They were Amos-like prophets talking about justice. They were Hosea-like prophets talking about unconditional love. They were Jesus-like as they urged us to see one another, whatever our race, creed, gender, party, etc., as neighbors and friends. They were Frances of Assisi, Gandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa reincarnated, urging us to ascend, to rise above what is now to what we can be and what we are meant to be as human beings.
Behind a large banner walked John Lewis, congressman of Georgia, who many years ago “walked the walk” as a young 25-year-old across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama, and ever since has “talked the talk” of peace and community. On that bridge in 1965, he and others were beaten and whipped back like cattle by state law enforcement of the time. Yet still he and those with him continued to sing, “We Shall Overcome.” Just as there was no stopping that movement fifty years ago, so there will be no stopping the March for Our Lives movement. Whenever and wherever walls have been built—walls of segregation, walls to keep things as they are, walls to block people from coming in, supposed impenetrable walls—wherever there are such walls, the people shall march relentlessly and blow their trumpets—and those walls will come tumbling down. For so it is written, and so it has happened before, and so it will happen now, and wherever such walls are built, it will happen again.
We all need to thank these young people of Parkland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Newtown and those young people across the world for marching, for speaking out, and for standing up against this present wall. The words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah still echo across the centuries—“And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the yearling together; and a little child shall lead them,” or maybe, just maybe, a teenager from Parkland, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Newtown….