Bernard LaFayette has been arrested nearly 30 times. But that never stopped him from continuing to push for equality.
“When you have laws that put you down,” he said, “you’re supposed to stand up and put the law down.”
LaFayette spoke Friday night at Temple Sinai’s annual Interfaith Shabbat Service. LaFayette is a senior scholar-in-residence at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and chair of the national board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Rabbi Alan Litwak, senior rabbi at Temple Sinai of North Dade, has been leading the service since 2008 with African-American Christian congregations throughout Miami. The goal of the event is to build relationships between the African-American and Jewish communities to continue the push for equality.
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Litwak said that by starting a dialogue across faiths, he hopes the communities can start to work together and discuss their differences and commonalities. Although the country has come a long way since the Civil Rights Movement, he said there is still a long way to go.
During the service, excerpts of Martin Luther King Jr.’s writings were read, including his I Have a Dream speech.
LaFayette then talked about his experiences in the 1960s dealing with discrimination. He emphasized the importance of people coming together and of not focusing on only one point of view.
“You can’t have truth by looking at one side,” he said.
At the time of the Civil Rights Movement, LaFayette worked alongside King, and co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960. He was appointed by King as a national program administrator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and served as a national coordinator of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign.
LaFayette concluded his speech by saying that although King was killed, the impact he made on the community was never forgotten.