By Marion Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund, for the Huffington Post

Dr. Vincent Harding, an acclaimed historian, religious scholar and activist known for his work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., believes America is a wounded nation.

Dr. Vincent Hardy, civil rights

Dr. Vincent Gordon Harding (born July 25, 1931) is a historian and a scholar of religion and society. An activist as well, he is best known for his work with and writings about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Even after so many years of struggle, he is convinced that America can and must get better.

Today Dr. Harding is the Chair of the Veterans of Hope Project at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, whose mission is to encourage a healing, intergenerational approach to social justice activism that recognizes the interconnectedness of spirit, creativity and citizenship. On his 81st birthday, he spoke at the National and Racial Healing Town Hall at the Children’s Defense Fund’s recent conference urging all of his listeners to commit themselves to heal America and make our country what it should be.

He shared a line he heard a West African poet recite: “He made this fantastic statement that I want to pass on to you as a birthday gift. He said, ‘I am a citizen of a country that does not yet exist.'”

The poet was speaking about his homeland, which was going through political turmoil on the road to independence. But Dr. Harding said it applies to our current national spiritual and moral crisis: “We are citizens of a country that we still have to create — a just country, a compassionate country, a forgiving country, a multiracial, multi-religious country, a joyful country that cares about its children and about its elders, that cares about itself and about the world, that cares about what the earth needs as well as what individual people need.

Read the full article here.