On August 28th, the Bethlehem area chapter of the NAACP held a 57th Anniversary Celebration of the March on Washington, where Bishop Kevin was asked to make an impromptu speech.
Read a transcript of his message below
My name is Kevin Nichols and I’m the Episcopal Bishop of Bethlehem. I’ve been here for just about two years. But I want to speak to you today as a father.
A little over a month ago, I was in my office and I received a phone call. And it was from my son, my 21-year-old son. And he said to me, he said, “I’ve been pulled over and I can’t find the insurance card and I can’t find the registration.” And I immediately was in a panic. I said, “The registration is right there. I have told you time and again where the registration is. It’s in that red case. The insurance card is right underneath it.” He said, “but the insurance card is expired.” I said, “It can’t be expired I check it—I check it every month.” The insurance card was expired by two days, so I called the insurance company.
He said, “The police officer who pulled me over isn’t happy.” I said, “Where is he?” He said, “He’s in his car.” I said, “You just relax. You gotta stay calm. You gotta remember who you are. Stay calm.” And I tried to call the insurance company so that we could ensure that we could provide that he had insurance information. And we waited. And then the phone went dead. And I sat on the floor of my office, in tears, waiting.
You see my 21-year-old son, and I have four children, my 21 year old son was adopted from Cambodia. He is a brown-skinned, 250 pound, 6-foot tall man. And I check his taillights every time he takes that car out. I check his registration. And you know what? I screwed up. And I was so terrified of what would happen.
He was okay.
The next day I went to that police station—it’s about an hour southwest of here—and I said to the police chief, I said, “I just gotta share something with you. I mean, my son was pulled over, as best we can tell, because he made a rolling stop. But he told me he looked at that officer just before he went down that hill in the eye, and that officer followed him down the hill.” And as I sat with that police chief, I said, “I just need to tell you as a father that I was on the floor of my office in tears, terrified for my son.”
I am a 58 year old white man of privilege. I’ve spent the last 21 years learning what most of you already know. Living in the midst of the terror and the fear that your families endure and live within. I’m preaching to the choir today, I can tell, but I will say to you that for white parents in particular, they have to see in Jacob, and Breonna, and George, their own children. They have to imagine that it’s their own children that can be shot in the back. Because until we know it in our heart, we will not change. Like you, I am here today to pledge to use every bit of authority, whatever bit of privilege I have, to create change.