Do I hear bells ringing? Are they freedom bells or wedding bells? The answer is, “Yes!” At long last men who love men and women who love women will have the freedom to marry in this country, no matter where they live.
Last October, when we celebrated marriage equality in North Carolina, my tears of joy were tempered with tears for those who were still waiting in other parts of the county. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Dr. King once said. Today I celebrate an end to an injustice that has muted the bell of liberty and justice for all in this great nation of ours.
Even at that, with this victory won at last, there is so much that continues to muffle the clear sound of freedom so many of us long to hear. Still reeling from the events in Charleston a week ago, and now learning that a predominantly black church right around the corner from me has been deliberately set on fire, the lingering injustice done to people of color continues to trouble my soul. I see it in the criminal justice system, voter suppression, our education system… all outward signs of the inward racism we have so much difficulty owning up to as white Americans.
For today, I’ll celebrate this glorious victory. Woohoo!
But there is much work to be done before freedom rings clearly in our land.
So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.