In remembrance of the anniversary of Bloody Sunday 1965, which was honored today in Selma, Alabama, my son Jonathan and I went to the King Center in Atlanta. A tribute to the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the Center is highly interactive, with a series of montages and a set of videos about King and the Civil Rights Movement. In one video it was explained that in the South “separate but equal was a myth.” What’s more, segregation sent a strong psychological message that Black people were inferior to Whites and should be kept separate. There were “colored” restrooms, “colored” drinking fountains, “colored” motels, “colored” diners… And even after segregation ended (at least some of it), there was still a tremendous financial disparity between many Blacks and Whites. King Jr. recognized this and stridently took on poverty, calling for a “radical redistribution of wealth.” Yet that chasm still exists today and is poignantly displayed on the walls of the Open Door Community in urban Atlanta, where we are staying for the next few days. The Open Door is a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality that attends to the homeless and others on the margins here. On the wall are some 70 random photographs of various homeless people, and of other urban poor in the area. Some 90% of the pictures are Black people. We still, indeed, have segregation in our cities, as we still have slavery. That is, many of these people have been caught in trans-generational poverty loops and are ‘slaves’ to the streets. President John F. Kennedy, in addressing segregation, once said that we can’t have true freedom in this country until “…everyone is free.” Not everyone is free, even yet. Not by a long shot… Dr. King grew up going to Ebeneezer Church in Atlanta, a Black Baptist Church. His father was a preacher. I interviewed another Black preacher at the Open Door Community today. Rev. Ron Lister and his wife Ann are on staff at the Open Door. Ann is also working on a degree in theology at nearby Emory University. When she graduates, the Listers are planning to open the Center for World Spirituality. Rev. Ron told me this would be an “ecumenical inter-faith collaboration,” with a commitment to enhancing one’s faith and social justice outreach. One component will be in-depth studies of various world religions in order to break down stereo-types, look for common denominators, etc. As an example, Rev. Ron said that in the Muslim faith the work “jihad” has been co-opted by extremists to justify terrorism and war. Rev. Lister said, based on his studies, that the word “jihad” is really meant to connote the ‘war’ between the “spirit and the flesh.” The same consistent theme, for instance, that is expressed in Christianity.