Dear Editor,

This speech was given by Senator Robert Kennedy the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and two months before his own assassination.

After another mass shooting or slaughtering of our brothers and sisters in Virginia Beach, and our upcoming community Juneteenth celebration, I chose this timeless speech, and attempt to unify, spoken at another violent time in our history.

"This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity to speak briefly to you about this mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

"Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by the assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero, and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.

"For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

“This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him a chance to stand as a father and as a man among men. And this too afflicts us all.

"Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps-remember even only for a time-that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life, that they seek-as do we-nothing but the chance to live out our lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can. Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely we can learn, at least, to look around us as fellow men and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again."

Cheryl Steindorf

Gulf County Democratic Party