For Martin Luther King Jr. Day today, my family and I road in a Koinonia Farm float in a parade through downtown Americus, Georgia, in the heart of the “Deep South.” As mentioned in an earlier journal entry, Koinonia Farm was the “backwater” Montgomery, Alabama of the Civil Rights Movement — starting in 1942. It was that year Clarence Jordan, his wife and another couple started Koinonia Farm as an “Intentional Christ Community” where Whites and Blacks would live and work together as equals — in a highly segregated South. The backlash was volatile (intimidating protests by the KKK, economic boycotts of the farm, regular drive-by shootings…). Yet Jordan didn’t back down through it all, and eventually things changed. Sort of… During the parade today in Americus, Blacks lined the city streets. There were, at best, only a handful of whites. Koinonia’s parade vehicle was the only one that had a mix of Blacks and Whites. The other parade vehicles had all Blacks. While the parade was festive, the lack of White participants and spectators was more than a bit conspicuous. And representative, I believe, of how far we haven’t come. That is, we still have so many almost “all White” neighborhoods and almost “all Black” neighborhoods thread throughout the country. As there are so many almost “all White” churches and “all Black” churches… Just look around, objectively. We’re still, on a lot of levels, tremendously segregated in the South — and in the North. For instance, significant numbers of Blacks are stuck [read: segregated] in inner city and rural poverty loops… So, how do we integrate more? One answer: More suburban Whites need to take the initiative to move back into the cities and live side by side with Blacks. In Lima, Ohio, we learned about a church that’s members were moving into the heart of a poorer area of the city to be more involved there. In Cleveland, Ohio, an enclave of White “Catholic Workers” have moved to W. 38th Street, near the heart of the city, to become “neighbors” with Blacks, Hispanics, Whites…(in a physical and spiritual sense). Note: Most of us look back on “official” racial segregation with disgust, even repugnancy. Yet if we look into our often homogenous neighborhoods, or for that matter our oten relatively homogenous lives (no real Black friends, an all White church…), many of us haven’t come all that far in really realizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “dream.” Or maybe even God’s, huh. Koinonia Farm here is an “Intentional Christian Community” with a good mix of Blacks and Whites. Intentional being the operative word. That is, they have continually “worked” at community, “worked” at integration. And for more integration, more racial equality, to happen in American society, we (both White and Black) have to “work” at it in our own lives. Maybe celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day could include, not only the parade, but “intentionally” inviting someone of another race out to lunch — as the beginning to developing a new friendship. Or better yet, after the parade you could: move into another neighborhood. Note 2: Yesterday, the Americus Times Record reported that in Sumter County here, which is split about 50/50 when it comes to Black and White population, 74% of the students in the public school system are Black, and 22% are White. This means a significant number of White students are either in private school, or are going out of Sumter County to primarily Schley County’s public school system (at $1,250 a year). Incidentally, if you haven’t guessed, Schley county is decidedly more White, as are the private schools.