From Linda To You

Rebuilding Hope, June 2015 edition
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From Linda To You

Linda Hartke, President and CEO of LIRS, and Rev. Dr. John Luom, faculty member at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

On March 7, 2015, I was honored to travel to Selma, Alabama for the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when hundreds of citizens peacefully marched for racial justice and were brutally beaten. I was asked to join the anniversary remembrance by Concordia College Alabama, an historically black college of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

I also joined the college for their annual Civil Rights Symposium and spoke on a panel about the church and our role in civil rights. During the panel, a question on racism today made me reflect: 50 years after Selma, racism is still evident in individual acts of continuing fear, hatred, threats, violence, and daily discrimination.

In our work, we see how this impacts new Americans, refugees, and immigrants. A person living here in Maryland once told me they didn’t want a refugee family that fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo to move in next door because they were afraid for their child’s safety. Fear continues to fuel racism today.

Rev. Dr. Tilahun Mendedo, President of Concordia College Alabama, insightfully elaborates on how racism exists today and affects us all. “The civil rights movement does not belong solely to the United States. Men and women are facing discrimination all over the world, and they turn to the United States for leadership, inspiration, and hope. Many of these men and women come to this country to better themselves and to provide for their families.”

Our civil rights work is unfinished. But as we march forward together and live into God’s call to love and serve our neighbors, the constant presence of a loving God at work through us in a broken world gives us hope and pushes us towards a more just and compassionate world.

I’m proud to walk this journey in partnership with the Lutherans and people of faith around the country like you!

Yours in faith,

Linda Hartke

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