January 22, 2021:
On Tuesday morning, I delivered a short reflection at the Interfaith Solidarity Network’s MLK Breakfast Event. It was an honor and privilege to speak, and I was glad to see a few people from Emerson online. And I wanted to share what I said, slightly adapted, with you:

Yesterday Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as this country’s next President and Vice President. And I know that many of us are so relieved to have a new president, to not have to follow politics so closely and show up over and over to protest the latest outrage or injustice. But friends, now is not the time to get complacent—there’s too much on the line.

We cannot expect to elect Joe Biden and just hope he’ll be a great president. We need put the kind of pressure on Joe Biden that makes presidents great. If you look at our history: there would be no Lincoln if not for the abolitionists pushing him, no FDR if not for the labor movement pushing him, and no Lyndon Johnson if not for the civil rights movement pushing him.

We face huge challenges in the coming years: the ongoing struggle for racial justice, in the face of resurgent white supremacy; the existential threat of climate change; extreme economic inequality and homelessness; voting rights; militarism; religious bigotry; xenophobia; transphobia; and, of course, this pandemic, which has been especially devastating for Black and brown folks in this country, who are contracting and dying from this virus at greater rates and being hit harder by the economic fallout.

To meet these massive challenges we need a powerful, multi-faceted movement for justice with revolutionary love at its core. And all of us have our part to play in it. So, in the words of Dr. King: “let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter — but beautiful — struggle for a new world.”

Because all of us are needed.

In faith,
Rev. Matthew