Executive Update

Let Freedom Ring Come

I had the honor of visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, Alabama, and I peered into the unbelievably tiny cell on display that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. occupied. From this cell he penned his infamous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” to answer his Christian critics and remind them of the reason he occupied the cell.

Dr. King wrote the letter in April 1963, I wasn’t even born at that time, but I know that Dr. King was thinking about me and others to come as he wrote. Not only was he concerned about black boys and girls, but white boys and girls as well. Dr. King was a humanitarian, and that simply means he was concerned about the human race. Are we?

“The Negro Is Your Brother,” is actually what Dr. King penned, but it is better known as “The letter From Birmingham Jail,” this may have been the more palatable title back then or even now. Dr. King’s letter may have been hard for Clergymen of the day to swallow, but Dr. King didn’t hold back and spoke to them on their level. He was a scholar and a well-versed Baptist minister. He knew the teachings of Christ and had carefully studied the bible, and not only Christ’s ministry, but the ministry of Apostle Paul. Y’all don’t want me to preach.

I saw the cell, I saw the man, and I looked around and saw the people of today. We’ve come a long way, but where are we headed? We can share a ride, it’s called ride-sharing. We can eat together at a restaurant, yet many eat alone. And we have so many educational opportunities, yet we choose to be ignorant.

The freedom bell has been ringing for a long time now. I think as a race, the human race, we’ve either become deaf or developed tinnitus and learned how to ignore it to our detriment. It’s time for the noise to stop and the work to begin. Let Freedom Come!

Lazarus was bound and dead. His sisters were heartbroken and crying because he was dead. They didn’t think he could live again, at that time, but when Christ showed up on the scene and called for Lazarus things changed. Most of you know the story, but for those of you who don’t, Lazarus lived again. Come, come, stay with me, we’re going somewhere.

There were people all around the tomb. There was noise going on around the tomb, aside from the weeping, I’m sure there were naysayers, complainers, scoffers, and the like. I’m sure the looky-loos had gotten a prime spot to see. Come, come, we need your help too. Do you get my point yet? Somebody unwrapped Lazarus’ body and somebodies rolled away the stone. Let me make it plain. Folks, we’re going to have to put in some work. This is my first and last scripture quote “Faith without works is dead.”

We can sing, we can ring, we can even dance, but we’ve got to put in the work. Where? You say. First, start with your mind. Unlock the jail cell your mind occupies, educate yourself. You often hear people say vote, and that’s great, but it’s not so great if you haven’t educated yourself on the issues at hand. Voting ignorantly, well, it’s just ignorant. When you know what’s going on, then you know what position you need to play. Godspeed.

Clifton Campbell
Executive Director & CEO