This is what I shared when I prayed at the Huntsville Islamic Center on December 18th. It was the first time I was invited to speak in their prayer space. It is something which I hope and pray will happen more. The only way to get through the virus of bigotry is through education and by being present with one another. I hope that this is something which is meaningful and that the event which occurred on Friday will be the continuation of more events to come.
This poem is adapted from Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Muslim , and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Muslim.
Then they came for the homosexuals, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a homosexual.
Then they came for the people of color, but I did not speak out –
Because I was not a person of color.Then they came for the “the others”, but I did not speak out –
Because I thought I safe.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me…
It is my hope and prayer that we will be able to learn from history; that whenever anyone is targeted – we are all targeted. May God open our hearts to be able to see one another. May we be able be present with one another during life’s challenges and opportunities. May this simply be the beginning of friendship as we go forward together into the unknown supporting one another.