Robert F. Kennedy’s Prophetic Speech: No to Racial Hatred, No to Violence & Rioting

On this feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a prophet of peace, a Franciscan priest, and martyr who gave his life for another prisoner in Auschwitz, I came across this moving video of Robert F. Kennedy, one of my favorite political figures.

In these times of racial tension, division, and violence that many parts of our country are experiencing, here is a call of unity: Bobby Kennedy announcing the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to a stunned audience in Indianapolis; speaking from the heart, reminding the people that his own brother was killed by a white man, reminding the people that Martin Luther King was not about violence or hatred, but peace, reconciliation, and healing.

Here Bobby Kennedy urges people not to riot, calling for reconciliation between the races through the pain and suffering, understanding that more violence is not the answer to the violence that transpired. It is a moving testimony by a prophet for peace doing honor to another prophet of peace. It is a testimony that, right now, our country and culture, with all the confusion that has set in, needs to desperately hear and internalize.

Interestingly, the video emphasizes that at the news of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination many cities across the United States experienced riots that night — similar to our status quo — and yet Indianapolis, at the pleadings and peaceful urging of Robert F. Kennedy, remained peaceful.