This weekend is the 50th anniversary of the March from Selma, where civil rights activists were beaten and blocked off by state troopers. In the contemporary, we can see this only as brutal violence.
Yesterday, I met with some friends on campus and our chaplain to plan a service of healing for survivors of sexual assault and one who walk alongside them on our campus. One thing we could not get over in the planning was knowing that silence is what hurts many of these people as much as the violence has. That the isolation they are forced to face in our current system of “dealing with” these “events,” is not peace.
Martin Luther King called to clergy around the nation. Calling for them to come to Selma. Many people in ministry of all faiths saw this call as a necessity to living out their faith. Knowing that they could not sit by in silence.
Our silence makes us complicit. As we allow racialized executions be carried out in our name on behalf of the state, as we allow torture to continue to be carried out by healthcare professionals, as we allow our friends to suffer violence on the grounds of an institution where they live, eat, sleep, and learn, we are committing those violences by allowing them as normal. Instead we must speak.