US Congressman (1971-91)
tís a real pleasure for me to be present on this part of the forty-nation, 400-city tour for global peace and conflict resolution being put on at this critical moment in world history by the Universal Peace Federation. You could not have chosen a more relevant or powerful city on this entire planet to bring this message of profound significance, the profound significance of the human family and the nuclear family, as well as the importance of seeking peace through nonviolence.
I bring you greetings as one of the African American citizens of this, our nationís capital. We remain a majority of those here in the nationís capital, and I bring you greetings from that part of our family because we have reflected in our experience the greatest drama of the need for family.
And secondly I bring you greetings on behalf of my former colleagues of the U.S. House and Senate dealing with the most serious problems confronting this nation and the world. They fall into two categories: that of building strong families and that of finding peace through nonviolence. So my words of greeting come first out of my black experience and then out of my experience as a member of the Congress of the United States.
Out of the black experience we know best the importance of family because we were subjected to the most cruel form of slavery in the history of the world. It was a slavery based on the destruction of the family. Uniquely in human history our slave forbears were stood on auction blocks and then sold down the river to the highest bidder. Mothers were deliberated separated from their children, fathers from their sons, brothers from their sisters, never to see one another again.
Itís little wonder that when a black child on a plantation somewhere was asked who he was, whence he had come, where he was headed, he had to cry out, Iím a poor pilgrim of sorrow. Iím lost in this wide world alone, without mother, without father. Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.
And we can take instructive example from how we overcame the destruction of the family. At the end of slavery in this country we had zero families because we were not allowed to live together as brothers and sisters. How did we overcome that? We found that when we got here, without mother, father, sister or brother, that God was our Father. And therefore, every man, every woman, every boy and girl is our brother and our sister. That old black man over there wasnít just an old black man. That was Uncle Remus. And that old black woman was not just an old black woman. That was Aunt Jane. And we are families and we must care for and protect and defend one another.
So when we came out of slavery, with no families, within thirty years we had gone from zero percent families to eighty percent families. Mothers and fathers in the family rearing their children. And today itís almost reversed in the African American community.
I like all women because the first woman that I knew was a caring women who protected and defended me. She was my mother. I bonded to her. And I like all men because the first man that I knew was a caring man who protected and defended me. I bonded to him. And then they said, youíve got to be bonded to some other people. That little boy and that little girl in this house are your brother and your sister. And we learned to care for and protect and defend one another.
Before I knew it, I was bonded to the boys on the block. We called ourselves the Westminster Street Cherokees, and we cared for and protected and defended one another against those bad fellows across town. And before I knew it, I expanded in my bonding by learning I was a Washingtonian. So we had to care for, protect and defend one another. Before I knew it they had me singing "America the Beautiful." I found I was American, and we had to care for, protect and defend one another against those bad people in other countries.
But the Sunday School taught me a better lesson. It said that God is the father of us all, and all of us beyond race, beyond creed, beyond color are brothers and sisters, and we need families to teach one another how to care for, protect and defend one another.
That is why, from the moment I met Father Sun Myung Moon during my first month on Capitol Hill, when he came here from Korea with a message of family and a message of peace, I lined up with him. And Iím so glad to see his son, Dr. Hyun Jin Moon, here carrying the work on today.
For it is related not only to my heritage as an African American but also to my work for the single most important man with the most important message for the most violent century in the history of mankind. That man was Martin Luther King, Jr., and his message was simply this: Either we learn to live together as brothers and sisters on this planet, or we will perish together as fools.
This tour is on time because never has that message been more meaningful and more significant than today because we have so many people who fail to hold with the principles of their religion, and the principles of our government.
I love America. Martin Luther King, Jr., loved the American dream. If you want to get familiar with it, read the Preamble to the Constitution: "We, the people of the United States, in order to establish justice, to provide for the general welfare, and to have domestic tranquility for this nation." I thought Iíd mention that, because the general welfare is when everybody has sufficient income, education, health care, housing and justice. If youíve got those five things, youíve got what Jesus called the abundant life. And if youíve got those five things, youíve got what the Founding Fathers called the general welfare. And I love the Lord and I want to take care of my neighboróred, brown, black or yellow. I want to do it in self-defense. I love my neighbor and I want him to have sufficient income, in self-defense, because if he doesnít have some income, guess whose income heís coming for?
If my neighbor doesnít have health care, guess whoís going to get sick? If my neighbor doesnít have an appreciation for education, guess whose schools are going to be ruined? If my neighbor doesnít have a house, guess whose house heíll break into? If my neighbor doesnít have justice, guess whoís going to feel the weight of his anger and hostility and violence? And violence drives people mad.
Without Father Moonís message we are in danger of becoming a world that is an insane asylum with the inmates in charge. I thank God for this movement because it is the answer to the most critical problems confronting the world today. We need to live together as families, rear our children and present the kind of leadership that will make Martin Luther Kingís dream a living reality. Letís listen and let us go forth to carry the message.