Father Michael Pfleger knows the pain of loss. As a Catholic pastor for a Faith Community on the South Side of Chicago, Pfleger has been to more funerals than he cares to remember.
He is passionate. He is honest. Sometimes to a fault: like when he mocked Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Primaries and became cannon fodder for 24-hour news networks.
But Pfleger understands this; that he's liable to say things he'll later regret. He says what he feels, knowing well that he'll have to back it up afterwards. His parents taught him that. And so he speaks. Constantly. Against violence, against what he perceives as injustice in the largely black communities he serves.
He hates violence and knows it well. Like when he was a young man and saw Martin Luther King Jr. face a rock-hurling crowd in Chicago. Like when he attends the funeral of a nine-year-old killed by a stray bullet. Like when he learned one of his adopted sons had been shot in the neck while walking down the street. Like the phone call that came days later.
Pfleger has seen discrimination. Pfleger has felt the sorrow and known the indifference of violence. Pfleger has doubted his God. And he still emerges.
Father Michael Pfleger knows the pain of loss.
Read or listen to Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop."