Monday, January 19, 2015

MLK DAY SHOULD GIVE US PAUSE

Today  is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States. 

This year it is a more somber holiday as Americans reflect on how far colored people have come since the assassination of the martyred leader and how the  fight for equality of opportunity continues for colored people in the United States.

Once again, the crucible of controversy surrounds the status of America's colored people.  Despite a two-term black president parts,of the nation have again become polarized over issues after the murder/killing/deaths of unarmed black men and a teenager by white police officers. The incidents further underscore that the marginalization of America's most vulnerable continues unabated. 

It is an opportunity for all Americans to give  pause and consider how far they have come as a society, but how much further they must go.  How can the worlds greatest democracy continue t0 hypocritically  fight for freedom, democracy and the empowerment of individuals when the seeping cesspool of racism still dominates the enforcement of law, order and economic opportunities at home?

Over the weekend, Kristine and I watched Selma, the  powerful movie about the events leading up to and following the terrible attacks by armed policeman, cheered on by hate filled Whites, on peaceful protesters as they crossed the the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The protesters were marching to the state capital to protest the discrimination experienced by colored people wishing to vote. The terrible tragedy embarrassed the President, Texan Lyndon B Johnson to pass the Voting Rights Act.

The emotionally charged biopic was shocking in its portrayal of the truth. The depth of the hatred of the local white people. hard-to-bear images of police tear gassing and clubbing peaceful unarmed colored people. For the past couple of generations the level of hatred, the acquaintance of individual counties and states to block American citizens from voting because of their skin color is foreign. Sure we have read about it in text books, but this movie frames it like it was. It is disturbing. 

The television series Roots, movies like The Color Purple,12 Years a Slave and the Butler are uncomfortable to watch.They tell the story of the ongoing struggle for human dignity in America, They shed an informed , passionate  light on the real human drama of the battle for civil rights.

As Canadians, we should not forget how we have treated and marginalized  our First Nations Peoples. We have had struggles  for the protection of basic human rights in the battle for equality for marriage, gender and race.

Yes Martin Luther King Jr was a black man but he fought for the right for all of us in this world  to stand beside our fellow men - regardless of your color, creed, gender or race.

We should never cower from our responsibility to protect our neighbors as equals.There is real power in grassroots democracy when we stand as one.




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