Dorothy Tillman and Me

April 02, 2015

The Rev. Chrisopher Griffin
St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Chicago 

I am filled with gratitude and humility as I think of the proud activists and protesters who were a part of the legendary march to Selma 50 years ago. In 2015, I remain amazed at their courage and faithfulness.  None of us should ever take their struggles for liberation for granted, nor should we forget the historic acts of resistance from our ancestors.  At present, we are apparently still in need of movements and protests against racial injustice. Thus, St. Martin’s was proud to participate in the local (and national) demonstrations on December 7, 2014 following the acquittals of policemen who took the lives of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner.  We joined the protest organized by the West Side Pastors Coalition and the West Side Branch of NAACP and marched on Madison and Pulaski.  It was powerful seeing the crowd grow exponentially and the number of children joining us with their parents who had just left their worship services.  Another personal highlight was to meet, and walk with, the legendary activist Dorothy Tillman, who was part of the famous march to Selma, from the South Side.  Former Alderman Tillman had been invited to join many demonstrations that day, yet “decided to join (her) brothers and sisters on the West Side.”  At the end of the gathering, following the chants of “Hands up…  Don’t shoot!  I can’t breathe…Black Lives Matter”, it was deeply moving to see, and experience, the ministers lay down on the pavement, in silence, remembering all the black lives tragically, violently and unjustly ended.  Although our demonstration that Sunday was nowhere near as threatening or overwhelming as “Bloody Sunday” we were honored to do our part to connect with others, then and now, and take a stand.


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