Joyce Williams doesn't seem like the kind of woman who's often left speechless.
The Huntington civil rights activist was a student at the University of Alabama when riots broke out over the first black student being admitted. She remembers participating in some of the most well-known civil rights marches of the late 1950s and early '60s. But Williams lacked the words to express herself Sunday after hearing a special sermon in honor of Black History Month at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington.
"I loved it,” said Williams, who is a church parishioner. “I don’t have the words to explain it.”
The sermon was given by special guest Frederick Brewington, a Hempstead attorney and well-known civil rights activist, who spoke to a crowd of about 100. Brewington’s sermon focused on justice and the idea that the “arc of the universe does bend toward justice.”
Brewington said that while it is important to stand up for justice and to refuse to be silent in its absence, it is equally as important to celebrate its victories.
Brewington, whose visit was organized through the fellowship's Journey Toward Wholeness committee, mentioned the election of President Barack Obama as a milestone for America. Brewington also talked about the fight for democracy in Egypt, which he said proves that righteousness can prevail even under duress.
“Egypt looks to us and says, ‘I want what you have,’” he said. “And we know it’s not perfect, but we still fight for it so that we might see that arc of justice.”
Parishioner Ben Testa, of Kings Park, said the idea that the world is always arching toward justice reinforced his hopes for the future.
“That’s something you can really keep in mind,” he said. “We have these bumps in the road, but the world actually is going toward that even when it doesn’t look like it.”