Monday Jan. 15 2018 marked the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Day.
On April 4 we will mark the half-a-century point after the assassination, or martyrdom, of Dr. King.
The Civil Rights Leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate rose to iconic standards during the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement. During one of the most violent segments in America’s history, with mastery over civil disobedience, King became a major face of social reformation.
Dr. King, one of many social pioneers and equality warriors of the 50s and 60s, stormed the Lincoln Memorial with 250,000 men and women of various backgrounds ready to face America’s racial bigotry and inequality. With the power of love and truth, the March on Washington, in August 1963, was automatically listed as one the most significant moments in American history. A march with a spirit that lives on today in cities like Denver and Seattle.
The Georgia-born pastor’s iconic I Have A Dream speech still echoes into the ears of America and the world today.
But all it does is echo. Meaning it eventually fades away from the ears of the masses, rather than ringing in their hearts as the dream once did.
Today, the dream is dying. The dream has faded in an era where the highest office in the land is a habitual racist. The dream has faded when protesting against police brutality on blacks merits the president of the U.S. calling Kapernick a “son of a bitch.” The dream has faded when nonwhite countries are referred to as shitholes.
The dream has faded when blacks and other minorities are still inferior, still subhuman.
The dream is dying, but the dream is not dead. Just as America’s subconscious obsession over racial differences has not died, the dream and antithesis to such social diseases has not died. It is only that in the scales of power and social balance, hatred of all sorts simply outweighs the love of the most important sort; the love for humanity as a fraternal unit, as a family of different individuals, and the same love that MLK preached in the streets of Selma.
There is both an overwhelming hypocrisy that empowers the hateful and an overwhelming complicity that sustains the losses of the war on racial inequality. The war on racial inequality, how ironic…if only that would be as serious as the war on drugs or terrorism or free press.
Mind you, this is the age of Trump and the age of largely misinforming mass media. It is also the digital age where public forums and the absolute accessibility of expression have created online junkyards for every prejudiced voice.
The hypocrisy is that the ignorant and bigoted white man still works to undermine minority efforts; look at Trump’s inadequacy with immigration laws and reform, and then look at the enabling of whites dubbing Black Lives Matter as a terrorist movement. The complicity, as always, is simple in words and draining in action because there is communicated misinformation that further breeds social divide. Or have we forgotten the president’s enabling remarks on the Charlottesville tiki-torch supremacists?
The lessons we’ve learned from MLK, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and the other great African-Americans of this nation shouldn’t be met with distasteful and bigoted opposition. Teachings like sticking with love, fighting injustice and judging people by the color of their skin rather than the content of their character mustn’t echo, they should roar.
Same rules apply with religious, gender, sexual orientation and class differences. The time is always right to do what is right, irregardless.
Black Lives Matter and the likes of minority liberation movements are not ‘racist’ motley crews with the sole purpose of upsetting the white and privileged. They are resistance efforts, fellowships that fight for change, like athletes taking a knee in protest of systemic oppression. Like the negro lifting his fist up in the Third Reich’s Olympics.
Social change doesn’t come from a hashtag with increasing Twitter traffic. Or wearing all black in the Golden Globes then accepting roles demeaning to women. Or placing your faith in a governmental probe of an undeserving president.
Social change comes with a woman’s march. It comes with an organized outrage against banning Trans soldiers. It comes with a lifetime’s dedication of persisting light in the darkest corners of social injustice. A light that is dimming with our complicit political structure, with the bigotry of our enemies, and with the silence of our friends.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only untiring effort can do that. Only relentless resolve in our need for change and only unyielding unity in our desire to evolve will we live together as brothers. Otherwise, we perish as fools.
Only light can set us free at last.