By Lisa Dumas –
Thousands gathered at memorials in cities across the country, including Washington, Memphis, and Atlanta recently, to continue the fight against racism on the 50th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, which took place on April 4, 1968.
Rev. King’s children, Bernice King and Martin Luther King III, spoke Tuesday night in Memphis, the location of their father’s assassination, at Mason Temple Church of God in Christ.
“It’s important to see two of the children who lost their daddy 50 years ago to an assassin’s bullet,” Bernice King, 55, stated. “But we kept going.”
Civil rights activists Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rep. John Lewis also held a separate event in Memphis to remember King on Wednesday.
And, in Atlanta, King’s hometown, bells rang at his burial site the moment when he was shot 50 years ago.
“King’s blood calls out to us,” Rev. Dawn Sanders said during a prayer at the D.C. memorial. “And what are we prepared to do? We thank you, God, for all that will be said and done. But we will not leave here without You pricking our consciousness.”
The National Council of Churches, a network of 38 different religious denominations, led the Washington memorial.
Attendees walked one mile, from the memorial to the National Mall, in prayer and silence, displaying signs and buttons signaling their particular denomination or faith, and featuring statements like “Methodists United Against Racism, “Catholics Against Racism,” and “Racism is a sin.”
“The call for moral courage resonates most deeply in the context of God,” Black Lives Matter leader DeRay Mckesson told the Washington Post. “If you believe in God, that comes with this idea of a sense of right and wrong.”
The hours-long rally also featured additional speakers, religious leaders, artists, and activists.
“As we mark 50 years since the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, we will commit to do our part to eradicate the entrenched racism that grips the United States, and paralyzes our ability to see every human being as equal,” the National Council said on its website.
Visit http://www.rally2endracism.org/ for additional information regarding the event.