It didn't start well — this American nation conceived in America's original sin of racial dehumanization through Indigenous land theft and the slavery of Africans. Yet, many of the ideals that the nation's founders aspired to still hold the potential to build a future nation much better than the one we began with. And that has been the struggle ever since.
I remember a story from South Africa, deep in the heart of apartheid, decades ago. I was there for many weeks building the relationship between the South African and the American churches working together to end the apartheid system. I was mostly staying with friends in black townships for behind-the-scenes, private meetings after having been snuck into the country. One night, I was staying in the Soweto home of Frank Chikane, then president of the South African Council of Churches, and a recently honored "elder" at the Sojourners leadership Summit (where we had precious times of remembering our past together but, most importantly, looking ahead).