Saturday, September 5, 2020

The Memorial for Truth and Justice

The Memorial for Truth and Justice

August is hot, especially in Alabama during hurricane season. It is not high tourist season in Montgomery. Yet we had driven more than a thousand miles from upstate New York to visit a recently opened site that documents the lynchings of over four thousand men, women and children—The National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

We took that trip in 2018. According to the website, "The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened to the public on April 26, 2018, is the nation's first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burned with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence."

As our nation grapples with the effects of the recent killings of blacks, with the racial polarization of whites and blacks, with the polarization of our country's political parties, this memorial is an important touchstone for all of us regardless of race, religion, political party or gender.  

Bryan Stevenson, the motivating force behind the memorial, wrote. “The National Memorial for Peace and Justice was conceived with the hope of creating a sober, meaningful site where people can gather and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality. …The national memorial is a sacred space for truth-telling and reflection about racial terror in America and its legacy. …Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape. This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and equal justice.”

 Thank you, Bryan Stevenson.

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