July 4, 2014
This morning (it is 1:54 am as I begin this) I listened via youtube to Ray Charles' rendition of "America The Beautiful. " I believe that whether one lives in a blue, red or purple state, whether we are conservative, moderate or liberal, religious or not, and whether our ancestors came here on the Mayflower or the Amistad, we are emotionally moved as we hear Ray Charles sing "America The Beautiful."
This morning these words in the song jumped out at me; "America, America! May God thy gold refine." Today, as ever, all of us must still be in the "gold refining business" if America is to BE America.
Marilyn and I, in the documentary film we hope you will support, share the meaning of our recent visits to Selma and Stonewall. We imagine visiting Seneca Falls, a site important to the women's rights movement, to Ellis Island, so relevant to our critical immigration issues, to Wall Street and Washington, where our economic and political lives are shaped, and to Arlington Cemetery where the bodies of those who died believing in what America has been, and is in the process of fully becoming.
The recent killings of three teens in Israel and one in Gaza are all too reminiscent of the killings of Matthew Shepard, Emmett Till, Viola Liuzzo and Rev. James Reeb (whom I knew) in Selma 50 years ago, of Trayvon Martin in Florida, of Harvey Milk in San Francisco, of Dr. George Tiller, shot in a church in Kansas, and of countless others murdered because of who they were, loved, or represented.
So also, the hate-filled voices and signs of those protesting the arrival of refugee children in California reminded me of the loud voices and signs of those who protested the arrival of black children at white schools (our niece was one of them), many years ago. It seems that in today's America, "the more things change, the more they remain the same."
For many America is "the Beautiful", the promised land. But for too many others, the dream of freedom to live who we are requires continued vigil and effort. In the words of Professor Michael Walzer, a leading political philosopher, who wrote about the American "promised land" of freedom and equality,
"... there is no way to get from here to there, from now to then, except by joining together and marching – and sometimes stumbling – through the wilderness, watching this time not for signs and wonders, but for an opportunity to act."
I invite you to take this opportunity to act by supporting Truth in Progress as we "walk our talk" about racism, heterosexism, religion, and much more. The "Gold" that is in and of America needs further refining. Please help us "kickstart" progress by donating (here) so we can complete production of "from Selma to Stonewall: Are we there yet?"
Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, (aka Rev.Gil or Gil, to many) - THANKS, THANKS, THANKS to you who have given and will give to our Kickstarter fund raising effort.