Bearing Witness

by Billy Shore

Orlando and the Imperative of Rededicating Ourselves to Mission and Humanity

Monday, June 13, 2016


            The events in Orlando are almost impossible to process. If you are like me you search without knowing precisely what you are searching for: insight, lessons, solace. And you wonder if these tragedies are coming closer together in a world spiraling out of control, or just seem to be.
I’ve seen posts from leaders I know who say that their own work feels almost trivial or irrelevant in the context of what has happened.  I don’t believe this to be so. In fact, just the opposite.
            On the evening that Martin Luther King was killed, Bobby Kennedy broke the news to a crowd in Indianapolis in eloquent, extemporaneous remarks that have been oft quoted. But next day he gave a more prepared speech about the “Mindless Menace of Violence” and it touches directly on our work.  On that day, in an era before either domestic or international terrorism were understood as they are today, Kennedy addressed political violence at length, but also “another kind of violence slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or 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 winter.”
            The full text can be found at It is as haunting today in light of Orlando as it was when RFK delivered it.  Instead or reading it, I urge that you take the slower and more reflective path of actually listening to Bobby Kennedy deliver it in this 10 minute audio on You Tube.    And that you join me in doing the only thing we can do: rededicate ourselves to our mission and to humanity.