In US history class today, I showed a video called “The Children’s March” by Teaching Tolerance. Tears formed in my eyes as I watched video footage of thousands of kids (some as young as four years old) rising up to protest inequality in Birmingham, AL. I was struck by God’s heart for justice and by the courage and power of those who stand up for what is right and true.
The year is 1963. The place is Birmingham, AL, hot spot for racial prejudices and interracial violence.
Stirred on by the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by the impassioned preaching of James Bevel, and by the encouragement of Shelley “the Playboy Stewart, the young black kids of Birmingham began to catch hold of the vision for equality, the vision for being treated as a child of God like anyone else. Thousands walked out of their classes and headed to Birmingham for a peaceful march and demonstration. They knew this would mean going to jail, getting beaten and insulted, being attacked by dogs, and assaulted by police.
Day 1, there were 973 arrests as the first demonstrators were carted off by school bus.
Day 2, there were 1,922 arrests as outlying cities joined the march.
Day 3, there were 4,163 arrests, and the jail was so full that the livestock pen had to be used.
Not an adult was among them. These were all teenagers or younger.
I literally had tears welling in my eyes as I thought of God’s heart for justice and of the potential today for young people to rise up and speak for justice. Rather than fighting for what we want or think we deserve (as most of the “occupy this city or that city” seems to be built on), what if we fought for what is right, for what another deserves, for those whom Jesus loves? Can you imagine the potential for revolution if people would lay down their lives for Jesus and for the gospel’s sake?