The Rev. Joseph Lowery, a long-time civil rights activist and the co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was among the speakers the funeral of Rosa Parks. Lowery was also active in the movement to desegregate public transportation in Alabama in the early 1950’s. [includes rush transcript]
- Rev. Joseph Lowery, long-time civil rights activist and the co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, speaking Nov. 2nd, 2005 in Detroit, Michigan.
AMY GOODMAN: Among the other speakers, Reverend Joseph Lowery, long-time civil rights activist, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was also active in the movement to desegregate public transportation in Alabama in the early 1950s. This is Reverend Lowery.
REV. JOSEPH LOWERY: Can’t do justice to Rosa Parks letting your tribute end in ceremony. You have to move from ceremony to sacrament. Sacrament takes up where ceremony leaves off. See, ceremony is like putting a ring on her finger at the wedding, but sacrament is ringing her life with love and joy every day and every hour. Sacrament — baptism is a ceremony, but living holy after the baptism is sacramental. And I believe if we could do justice to Sister Parks, we must not stop with sacrament.
The President of these United States engaged in ceremony in the rotunda, but he stopped short of sacrament when he missed an opportunity to name somebody to the courts in the spirit of Rosa Parks, for diversity and minority rights. He stopped short of sacrament.
I call upon you today, let’s don’t stop with this ceremony. You must move from ceremony to sacrament. Sacramental honor means that never again can you let an election pass without getting up and casting your vote. Sacrament means that we must not tolerate homelessness and hunger in the midst of our community. Sacrament means that we know where the weapons of mass destruction are. They are not in Iraq. They’re in Detroit and Chicago and Atlanta and Montgomery. That’s where the weapons of mass destruction are.
50 million people in this country with no health insurance. That’s a weapon of mass destruction. Minimum wage is a weapon of mass destruction. And in the spirit of Rosa Parks, as I take my seat, we must sacramentally understand that drug addiction and drug selling is a weapon of mass self-destruction, and in the spirit of Rosa Parks, we must rise up and sacramentally share that addiction. Finally, we must understand in the spirit of Rosa Parks, in the spirit of saintly womanhood, we must teach our young people as children to stop having children; that’s a weapons of mass self-destruction.
So, I come — I go to take my seat now, calling you to go from ceremony to sacrament. Sitting in Montgomery the other day, as I spoke with Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, old home girl from Alabama, and I took advantage of the moment, because she couldn’t move. She had to sit there and hear what I had to say. I’m coming, Mr. Mayor. Well, I come all the way from Atlanta, you ought to give me an extra minute. I said to Condoleezza — she made a beautiful tribute to Ms. Parks — but I said, "Dr. Rice, Sister Secretary of State, what a glorious tribute it would be if you and the governor of Alabama and the mayor of Montgomery would join John Conyers and Sister Kilpatrick and John Lewis in extending the Voting Rights Act."
AMY GOODMAN: The Reverend Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.