“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 43 years since his assassination. Today we remember a man who was a radical anti-war activist who fought for social, political and economic justice in the civil rights movement, and who inspired the world with his eloquence and profound brilliance. In his honor, and in a desire for change, peace and justice, we note a just few of the ways we, as a society, continue to fail him and his memory. That today in the USA: We are perpetrating yet another unjust war, this time in Afghanistan; the education system is in shambles and schools continue to be segregated; LGBTQ people continue to be denied their civil rights; Immigrants face violent levels of xenophobia and discrimination, systemic racism continues to keep down people of color and damage our entire society, the gap between the rich and poor is the largest it has ever been, the list goes on and on…
“So, let’s remember three things this MLK Day: the honorable tradition of progressive democratic radicalism that looks deeply and widely at the causes of injustice and tries to root them out; the danger of investing all our hopes and dreams in a savior-type leader; and the persistent danger of witch hunts that seek to silence and intimidate dissidents and make everyone else afraid to come to their aid.
In King’s words, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” Instead of praising King for battles already fought, let’s look around at the pervasive injustices that still exist, from the obscene disparity in wealth to the abandonment of our educational institutions. From the unchecked growth of prisons for the poor to the escalating oppression of the Palestinian people in Israel and Palestine. Let’s pay tribute to King, and Baker and Hamer and all the others who fought the good fight by building a sustainable movement for a more just and humane world.” ” [from Remembering MLK: The Things We’ve Forgotten Would Guide Us by Barbara Ransby, for ColorLines]
three great articles from ColorLines today:
We Twisted King’s Dream, So We Live With His Nightmare
Anti-racist writer and educator Tim Wise revives the radical politics that the right has airbrushed out of King’s dream.
Remembering MLK: The Things We’ve Forgotten Would Guide Us
Civil rights movement scholar Barbara Ransby says we are all King’s political heirs.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Call for Peace as Racial Justice Still Rings
Global Justice columnist Michelle Chen explores the legacy of King’s antiwar activism.