On August 16, 1961 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to the ALC Luther League convention held in Miami Beach, Florida.
Dr. King spoke on Wednesday, August 16, and called upon his hearers to be “proudly maladjusted” toward a society which permits injustice. His words (transcript available on our NT-NL Synod, ELCA website at https://www.ntnl.org/…/2020/07/ALC-LL-1961-MLK-Jr-transcrip…) are tragically just as relevant for our day also.
While King is largely lauded today as a social and civic hero his invitation was not universally acclaimed. Due to that organization of the John Birch society, Dr. L. David Brown, Director of the ALC Board of Youth Activities, received 600 letters requesting King be uninvited. Thankfully he did not do so and the 20,000 young people who attended were able to hear these words.
In 1993 I attended the ELCA Youth Gathering in Atlanta as a participant. At that gathering Coretta Scott King spoke. It is a memory I will never forget and moved me to better understand the impact we as the Lutheran community can have when we speak for justice. This will not always be universally accepted. But it is vital and important. I am grateful for the leadership and guts of Dr. Brown and others who stood firm so these young people, now in their 70s and 80s, could be able to say they heard Dr. King speak. I have no doubt it changed many of their lives.
There is much speculation about the 2021 ELCA Youth Gathering in the time of COVID-19. For now the gathering is proceeding as planned in hope. Regardless we will have opportunities for our youth in NT-NL in 2021. Through Briarwood Leadership Center (who is producing daily content for youth and adults this summer check it out at www.bwtx.com) and the commitment of our youth leaders we will ensure our young people have a chance to experience a gathering of some type. #NTNL #InMissionTogether