Inside the Vatican magazine has named Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Pastoral Associate of Priests for Life, as one of the Top Ten People of 2007. She has become one of the leading voices for the unborn in America and in the world.
This award is a sign of the times and a sign of developments in the pro-life movement. African-Americans are finding their voice on this issue. While for decades, pro-life leaders have asked how to "get African-Americans involved in the pro-life movement," the more precise question is, "How do we encourage African-Americans to take up their own leadership of the pro-life movement, recognizing that this movement belongs to them as much as to anyone else?"
On Martin Luther King Day of 2007, I was privileged to proclaim the New Testament reading at the national observance of the holiday at the King Center in Atlanta, GA. Speaker after speaker declared that there is "unfinished business" regarding the dream of Dr. King, because various forms of inequity and injustice continue to affect the Black community and society generally. This is true and must be addressed.
Yet so many forget the "unfinished business" of restoring protection to unborn children, and ending the violence of abortion. Alveda asks the poignant question, "How can the dream survive if we murder the children? If the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is to live, our babies must live."
Many black leaders are awakening to how abortion is devastating their community. Black women are more than three times as likely as white women to have an abortion. Although black women constitute only 6% of the population, they comprise 36% of the abortion industry's clientele. On average, 1,452 black babies are aborted every day in the United States. The leading abortion providers have placed over 90% of their abortuaries in urban neighborhoods with high black populations.
Alveda declares confidently that her uncle Martin would be marching for life with us were he alive today. He did not only stand for the equality of the Black man. He stood for the equality of every human being.
On Christmas of 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. preached the following words: "Now let me say that the next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. Every man is somebody because he is a child of God...Man is more than a tiny vagary of whirling electrons or a wisp of smoke from a limitless smoldering. Man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be respected as such...And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won't exploit people, we won't trample over people with the iron feet of oppression, we won't kill anybody."
February is Black History Month. Let's honor that history by learning how to strive for equal justice for all, including the unborn.
This column can be found online at
Fr. Frank's columns can be heard via podcast. See www.priestsforlife.org/podcast for more details.Fr.. Frank's columns can be listened to in MP3 format at www.priestsforlife.org/columns/columns2008/index.htm