On the day that the U.S. Supreme Court, hopefully, begins to make up its mind and say “Yes” to Constitution-based marriage equality, may the nation begin to become serious about Constitution-based economic and educational equality and equal access for ALL Americans.

As I watched on TV the protests in Baltimore on the day of the funeral of Freddie Gray, and the swearing in of our second black Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, I remembered April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King was assassinated. I, with clergy and other community leaders, walked up and down Boston’s Blue Hill Avenue seeking to urge peace rather than violence in response to the killing of Martin Luther King.

Many of us viewed the violence in city after city in the nation following the death of Martin Luther King, the “Apostle of Nonviolence,” as a contradiction of all Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement believed and practiced. Some will say that the property damage in Baltimore on the day Freddie Gray was buried, the day Loretta Lynch was sworn in, and in the “final quarter” of our nation’s first black president, Barack Obama was contradictory as well.

But, Baltimore and its property damage hammers home the fact that neither a black president or back-to-back black Attorney Generals usher in a post racial/racist era.

Thus, just as the nation, more and more, affirms the Constitution-based validity of same sex marriage, we must affirm and act upon the creation of economic and educational equality for all Americans, particularly those who from the beginnings of our nation, were viewed as second class or less, Black Americans.

Ta-Nehisi Coates in his June 2014, ATLANTIC cover story, “The Case for Reparations,” “calls the roll” of the race-based barriers African Americans have faced as the “Imported” not the Indigenous nor Immigrant, but slaves who were brought to America to provide free slave labor. Coates suggests that America will not be America until it begins to repair the damage done to the lives, spirits and culture of those who are the descendants of slaves.

I contend that we should not allow the financial challenges of reparations keep us from beginning to engage in “Reparations Remembering” of our Black history that we too often deny or revise.

Today’s New York Times  on its front page has a headline that reads, “Clashes Rock Baltimore After Funeral; Curfew is Set” and on the left side of the front page, an article titled “Advocates Seek Sweeping Ruling in Marriage Case.”

I believe that the USA is mature enough, or must become mature enough to engage in “Justice multi-tasking.”

We must not allow the justice needs of same sex couples to thwart the need for economic/educational justice for Black Americans. Nor, should we allow what is taking place in Baltimore and throughout the nation to provide alibis or excuses for not moving toward full justice for LGBTQ persons and same-sex couples.

Paul Krugman in a NY Times op-ed writes of how we are reluctant to acknowledge that we have made mistakes. “…we live in an age of unacknowledged error.” Today, at the U.S. Supreme Court, the Justices will wrestle with how they will respond to the “error” of denying marriage equality to same-sex couples.

May the nation today, also, finally decide that it must correct the errors in justice that have for too long, been responsible for making Black Americans second class or less in education, economics, employment, income, housing, net worth and influence.

Black and LGBTQ lives matter. It is not either/or, but both/and.

Rev. Gil Caldwell

The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell is a retired United Methodist Minister who lives in Asbury Park, N.J. He was active in the Massachusetts unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and participated in the civil-rights movement throughout the nation. In 2000, he, with others, organized the RMN Extension ministry United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church (UMOC), an organization committed to the full inclusion of LGBT people in every aspect of church and society. His recent book, Something Within: Works by Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell is available from Church Within A Church. Gil's advocacy efforts were also featured in the film "From Selma to Stonewall - Are We There Yet?" Learn more at truthinprogress.com

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