April 4 will mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence” speech at Riverside Church in New York City. Not only was this his most consequential address (King was assassinated exactly one year later); we believe it represents the most significant public oration in U.S. history. In it King was prophetic in both senses of that word—speaking truth to power and anticipating the historical consequences of our collective choices.
Indeed, his analysis remains disturbingly resonant today. With others, we have come to see this discourse as a sort of “hermeneutic key” for our faith and our politics. It was more than a bold critique of the Indochina War; it was a deep archaeology of public culture and identity—perhaps the culmination of King’s lifetime struggle “for the soul of America.” We'll discuss how in this sermon King connects the dots between what he called the “giant triplets” of racism, militarism and materialism, and then calls us to take back the world from those “who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”
At the end of April we also commemorate another watershed anniversary: 25 years after the Los Angeles Uprising. We are delighted to welcome Hyun and Sue Park Hur of ReconciliAsian (pictured above with Elaine and Ched) to talk about both milestones, and what it means for our work in restorative justice.
This program is part of a nationwide network of programs commemorating this sermon and using it to help navigate the cold new world of Trumpian plutocracy. Join us for this important conversation; you'll benefit most from it if you read and/or listen to King's sermon first (text and audio excerpt can be found here or here, as well as many other places on the web).