As the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. spoke at the University of Chicago’s annual commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader encouraged the audience to recognize their potential to make an impact. “We can, we must, we will make a difference!” rang out a chorus, in unison.
“This is our role, our responsibility, and our mission: to consciously and unconsciously keep doors open, to keep the liberation thrust going, to carry on the transformation and revolution, even when you are not conscious of it,” said Moss Jr., a pastor who has been an activist and advocate for social justice for more than 60 years.
Moss Jr. and his son, the Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III delivered keynote addresses on Jan. 28 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, where King himself spoke both in 1956 and 1959. In his remarks, Moss Jr., who was a close associate and friend of Dr. King’s, underscored an important lesson from King’s life: One’s actions, however small they may seem, can ripple into the future in unforeseen ways.
“You don’t know how much power you have,” he said, asking everyone in attendance to look down at their own hands. “These are the hands of God. When anybody asks you: ‘Where is the liberation? Where is the revolution? Where is the salvation?’ It’s in your hands.”