Looking back on various dates leads to nostalgia at best, horrific memories at worst. Almost exactly 53 years ago yesterday – on May 2 in 1963 – the Children’s Crusade began in Birmingham, Ala. as thousands of school aged children marched to protest segregation and were met with hoses, attacked by police dogs, and jailed.
It’s a scene we can hardly imagine today, and yet there are so many ways even in 2016 that we fail to protect our children. There should be no child in America going to bed hungry. No child in this country should have to sleep in alcoves on city streets. Children should not be victims of trafficking. Children should not have access to weapons and drugs. Children should not be used as pawns between warring parents. Children should not be victims of court-ordered abuse. Children should not be continually surrounded by violence. Children should not be incarcerated, rather they should be offered restorative justice. Children should not be physically, emotionally, spiritually, educationally or sexually abused.
Children should live in loving, nurturing families. They should attend clean, safe schools where they can get a quality education. They should have health care and mental health services.
They should be a part of caring, protective communities.
Shame on us if we fail to protect every child.
If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. NRSV