Civil Rights

At the Golden Globes Awards comedian Tina Fey remarked, “The movie, “Selma” is about the American Civil Rights movement . . . that totally worked and now everything is fine.

An obviously clueless man recently commented:
“It’s nice to know that we live in a country where the police no longer racially profile, where people in the African American community feel trust in the government, where prejudice and bigotry are no more.”

Yet we regularly hear in the news of human rights violations not just in “third world countries” but our own. For example: (and there are many from which to choose)

In 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Florida by neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, supposedly in self-defense.

The shooting of Michael Brown occurred August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Brown, 18 years old, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white Ferguson police officer. There continues to be unrest and distrust of the police force in Ferguson.

April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, was taken into police custody. He died one week later after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody.

In each instance there were protests and marches determined to see justice done. Those who had committed acts of violence against African American young men need to be held accountable. It’s especially egregious when this violence occurs while in police custody. These incidents serve as examples of bigotry and racial bias before, during and after a young black man has encountered those sworn to protect the rights of all citizens.

Sadly, this latest event has shown that protests and marches are not only essential, but required to ensure those in power will seek justice for those who are typically under-represented by our justice system. A working judicial system would not require protests and marches to ensure justice will take place in the court of law.

Now a half century since the Civil Rights Movement much has been accomplished but it’s obvious there is still much to be done. Much more must change before the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. becomes more than a hope and a prayer. After Obama became president, I was foolish enough to believe this was a turning point in racial relations in America. However, with a Republican-lead Congress determined to never allow Obama’s programs to see the light of day, it is obvious our society has much to learn about equality.

Citizens believing in equality for all must take a stand. We should not leave this aburden for those who daily encounter prejudice and bigotry.

An excellent article on our wayward justice system can be read here:

Justice System Still Doesn’t Work

An article about inequality in Baltimore from the unique viewpoint of a reporter who’s “been there and done that” is required reading for all who claim to want equal rights for all. Check it out here:

What you really need to know about Baltimore, from a reporter who’s lived there for over 30 years.

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