SFS_SelmaMarch_1965_35-002-03

Stephen Somerstein, a college student at the time, snapped this iconic photo of Martin Luther King Jr. addressing the civil rights marchers on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol on March 25, 1965. The photo is part of an exhibit at the Louisiana Old State Capitol.

Where is the peace?

We live in a violent society. I had a long talk with one of my childhood friends from Jacksonville, Florida. We talked and discussed the good days growing up in the Sunshine State. Now, my beloved city is in the news as many other cities regarding violent acts. In Baton Rouge, three juveniles that should have been playing basketball or baseball were arrested for murder. Where is the peace? Our news cycle is filled with violence and evil daily. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would admonish us to walk in peace and love with each other. Nelson Mandela would call us to real relationships and unity. Where is the peace? I recommend the following actions:

First, we should teach our children how to resolve conflict in peace and understanding. The sacred scripture calls for us to be peacemakers. Nonviolent direct action as taught by Mahatma Gandhi is still appropriate for us today. How do we handle conflict? If our children see us using violent words, then they will model our actions.

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Secondly, we should be in a dialogue with persons of all backgrounds, ethnicity, and faith traditions. If we learn how to talk, maybe we will learn how to live together. Where is the peace? A civil society is one of peace and understanding. We should have enough of the evil and violence. Our gifted and talented youth and young adults being killed daily. Where is the peace?

Lastly, we should begin the peace process from within. Howard Thurman, in his book, “Creative Encounter," highlights the inward journey and the outward journey. We all must take our own inward journey. Where is the peace? Let it begin with me.

Herman O. Kelly Jr.

pastor, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church

Baton Rouge