On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, Christian Aid and Westminster Abbey hosted a national service and Symposium.
The service focused on justice, exploring the role of faith in seeking justice, and bringing about transformation in our world.
Bishop of Woolwich, the Rt Revd Dr Karowei Dorgu, delivered the sermon. Our CEO, Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, gave her testimony.
On his occasional visits to the UK, he would prioritise visits to the Christian Aid offices. Alongside the former British Council of Churches, we also made appointments for Dr King, and helped with his press and media.
This morning as I placed a wreath outside the Abbey on the memorial for the victims of oppression and violence, I was struck by the question from lamentations: “is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?”
Today, as we mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr, I feel proud of the role Christian Aid played in supporting his work here in the UK and in Mississippi, USA.
He led a movement for justice and continues to inspire many people around the world. He was able to translate his faith into real life actions that resonated with the daily struggles of individuals and the wider community.
Struggles for inclusion, for social and economic justice and for the opportunity to live a life of dignity. He believed that all humans are created equal, and gave his life for that equality to be a reality for all.
For me, today marks my second day in the office as the new chief executive of Christian Aid. And in this my first public engagement, I am struck by the shared values and common threads of faith and justice that the work of Dr King has with the work of Christian Aid.
Be it when we run a refugee camp for 50,000 Rohingya people in Bangladesh, or work with the peace and justice commission in Colombia or support vulnerable children in Kenya, Christian Aid continues to reach out to people, regardless of colour, creed, gender, age, sexual orientation and economic or social status.
We continue to strive for social and economic justice, so that everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy the abundance of the earth.
On a personal level, the pursuit of social justice is one I am determined to continue to champion. Whether in small places, where it matters to one or two people, or be it in public spaces where mine is just but one voice, nevertheless it is a voice I bring to the table.
And so, as I step into this role with inspiration from the past and energy from the present, I recognise that I am not simply joining an organisation:
I am joining the efforts and voices of the churches, our staff, supporters and volunteers and partners in the different counties.
I am joining our hopes and aspirations for more just economic practices, better care for our planet and environment, more compassion and support for those who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances and respect for every human life.
And it is knowing that we are joined up in our efforts, and standing together for peace, equity and justice, that gives me the courage to respond to the question, “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?” in the following manner:
It is something to me, it is something to Christian Aid and it is something to all you who are joining hands with the poor and disadvantaged - offering your support and taking action.
In so doing, “… Justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream”.