Over the last few years, I have developed a treasured friendship with the Reverend Amos C. Brown, pastor of San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church and a member of the Board of Directors of the NAACP. Though I come from a different background, a different family, and a different race, he affectionately refers to me as his “brother from another mother.”
Today, we commemorate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As one of the eight students in the only class taught by Dr. King in his lifetime at Morehouse College, Amos Brown had a front-row seat to history and was shaped as he looked at the events of the civil rights movement through the lens of faith.
Amos and I have enjoyed several opportunities to give speeches together, to collaborate on projects together, and to even write an opinion piece together for The Tampa Bay Times. In that article, we wrote the following:
“Our joint efforts have shown that we have far more in common than issues that, at first glance, might appear to divide us. Both of our organizations have learned lessons from the past. Both of us have been willing to listen to and learn from each other. Respect and cooperation have yielded the sweet fruit of reconciliation, admiration, service, and genuine love.
“Solutions will come as we open our hearts to those whose lives are different than our own, as we work to build bonds of genuine friendship, and as we see each other as the brothers and sisters we are—for we are all children of a loving God.”
I like to think that my friend Amos and I are, in a very small way, the embodiment of Dr. King’s vision that people from different backgrounds and races can “sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”
I reiterate what is taught in the Book of Mormon that “black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). May God continue to bless us as we labor together to lead out in abandoning attitudes and actions of prejudice.