Feb 23, 2023
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear, only love can do that.”
These words, written by Martin Luther King, beckon us to a search for truth and meaning in the quest for racial justice and human rights everywhere. Two of our guests today, Ken Hill and Gina Whitaker, spent three weeks traveling the U.S. Civil Rights Trail this past October through Mississippi and Alabama. Everywhere they went, everyone they met and all the stories they heard added pieces of the puzzle that eventually formed a picture of our single garment of destiny, and highlighted our network of mutuality. What they learned was that we are all connected, and that Martin Luther King had it right…only love can overcome hate.
The Deep South. A place neither Ken Hill nor Gina Whitaker ever thought they would visit, was the scene. People like Terry Chestnut, our third guest today, filled in many missing pieces of the puzzle with his deep love for Selma, Alabama–his hometown–and all the people and all the places in Selma where major battles of the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s took place and are recorded in history. Terry will share his story today, and we are certain that his perspective will move our listeners.
So, welcome to the People of Faith for Justice 26th podcast and to our guests, Gina, Ken and Terry.
MLK People of Faith for Justice Service - 1/15/23 (Video)
Living Legacy Project - Civil Rights Pilgrimages to the South
Selma Interpretive Center - US Civil Rights Trail
Edmund Pettus Bridge Selma, Alabama
Hancock’s BBQ - Selma, AL
Live Oak Cemetery - Selma, AL
National Voting Rights Museum - Selma, AL
St. James Hotel - originally The Gee House Hotel - Selma, AL
Benjamin Sterling Turner - AL’s first Black Congressional Representative
Brown Chapel AME Church - Selma, AL
Dallas County Voters League - Selma, AL “Courageous Eight”
Rev. James Reeb (Video)
Jimmie Lee Jackson (Video)
March Selma to Montgomery - 50th Anniversary (Video)
Tabernacle Baptist Church - Selma, AL
J.L. Chestnut, Jr. - Black Author, Attorney and Civil Rights Activist; Terry Chestnut's father
MORE ABOUT OUR GUESTS
Gina Whitaker is a board member of People of Faith for Justice and a member of the Unitarian Universalists San Luis Obispo. Social justice concerns in 1960 brought her to the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara as a teenager, and she’s never looked back. A social justice activist for 64 years, Gina went on a pilgrimage to the Deep South in October, 2022 with her husband, Ken. Her experiences there transformed her, and brought her attention to the fact that though life in the Deep South is better than it was during the 50’s and 60’s, the job is not yet finished. Gina continues her work for racial justice, immigration justice and voting rights in between spending time with her two granddaughters, Jimi, 2 1/2, and Rubi, 7 months. She lives in Arroyo Grande with her husband, Ken Hill, and their cat, Sufi.
Ken Hill is Gina Whitaker’s husband and resident of the Central Coast for the last three decades. Ken is now retired from a long engineering career in electronics, computers and software in Southern California and on the Central Coast. He has rooted himself in relationship to family, community and the quest of grounding our communities in love and grace; without these, all else is for naught. At the heart of that community are his wife, stepsons, grandchildren, sister, brother in-law and extended family bonded in blood relation and shared purpose. Ken is a passionate member of Unitarian Universalists San Luis Obispo, participates in People of Faith for Justice (PFJ) through the Central Coast Center for Ecological Civilization and can be found at many events around the Central Coast trying to transform us all into a beloved community.
Terry Chestnut was born and raised in Selma, Alabama, the 4th of six children, to J.L. Chestnut, Jr. and mother Vivian Chestnut. J.L. was the first Black attorney in Selma, and was also Dr. Martin Luther King’s attorney, of which Terry is very proud!
Terry graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans with a double major in Mass Communication/Criminal justice, and a minor in Music. Terry has a great love for Selma Alabama, and has spent the last three and a half years working as a tour guide for groups from all over the world who visit Selma, Alabama to learn about the 1960’s American civil rights and voting rights movement. With Terry as their guide, however, they learn much more than facts, and experience Terry’s great love for his hometown and the people in it.
In addition to the many tours he conducts year round, Terry finds time to host a daily radio show, The Cool Jazz Cafe, as well as organize all the entertainment at the historic St. James Hotel in downtown Selma. He is available to speak nationwide.
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People of Faith for Justice is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The People of Faith for Justice Podcast is produced and edited by Jeff Manildi
Music for the People of Faith for Justice Podcast is provided by Andrew Gorman