Rev. Dr. Arlee Griffin, Jr.
In 1969, the first day of school desegregation reached my little eastern town in North Carolina. I was beginning my seventh grade in junior high school. While riding on the school bus that morning, I saw a burnt wooden cross in a yard of a man who was one of local businessmen and community leaders.
It created a moment of numbing and gasping silence as fear and terror held us school children in its grip. This act of racial hatred and domestic terrorism left me with trauma as a child that would remain with me well into my adult years.
The memory of this experience compels me to embrace the founding vision of President Carter and the New Baptist Covenant to work for racial reconciliation in America.
In the aftermath of continuing acts of domestic terrorism and racial hatred like the massacre at Mother Emmanuel A.M. E. Zion Church in Charleston, South Carolina and most recently the murder in Charlottesville, Virginia, we must support the one organization that has harnessed our fears and channeled our energy to a positive response. In contrast to the growing ethnic division, the New Baptist Covenant calls us together. It’s a clarion call for workers to build Dr. King’s “beloved community”.
In answering the call, I give to the New Baptist Covenant because it’s a matter of life, love and legacy.