Category Archives: racial equality
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He was only 39 years old when he was killed on the second floor balcony of a motel in Memphis TN on April 4, 1968. Martin Luther King Jr has been gone from this earth forty years today. The day before his death, he delivered his “I have been to the Mountaintop” speech at Mason Temple, wherein he spoke of the bomb threat that had been called in on the plane he was traveling on. He also spoke about not fearing his own death:
“And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Days of riots hit our nation. I was fifteen years old when King was taken from us. But I remember the events as if it was yesterday. I remember watching the news reports of the riots in major cities here in the United States. The National Guard was called out and thousands were arrested, many were killed as well.
The sickening irony was not wasted on me that violence broke out from sea to shining sea over the death of a man that always advocated non-violence as the method to attain change in our country.
So how have things changed in these United States of America forty years on? People of color still live in poverty in a disproportionate level compared to their white counterparts. The unemployment rate for people of color is still vastly higher than for white folks. Inner city schools, mostly populated by African American’s and Hispanics, graduate a lower percentage of their students than those of the suburban areas of our nation. A few examples of the graduation rates in major urban areas:
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Surely as there is a sunrise tomorrow, the United States has once again blow off something they swore to uphold. This time around its the United Nations CONVENTION ON ELIMINATION OF all forms OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION.
In 1994, the US Senate ratified this treaty, wherein they promised to “provide reports every two years on racial discrimination in the United States. The reports were to include anywhere in the world where the US military is in charge. In other words, the United States military, no matter where it was on the globe, agreed to report discrimination. That now includes Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.”
One Hundred and Seventy-three nations signed this treaty. All of them, including the US, promised to provide reports on their countries progress or lack of it in certain areas such as health care, education and prison terms. There was a two day meeting on the most recent reports submitted by the participating nations. The U.S. government submitted a 115-page report (pdf) and sent a 25 person delegation to Geneva to defend its..cough.. record. Who contributed to this report?
This report was prepared by the U.S. Department of State with extensive assistance from the White House, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other relevant departments and agencies of the federal government and of the states. Contributions were also solicited and received from interested members of the numerous non-governmental organizations and other public interest groups active in the area of civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States.
As to how many outside groups actually participated it’s unknown. My guess is the bulk of the report was prepared by “Bushies” which control all areas of the federal government as we all are aware of at this point in time. Especially after numerous Congressional hearings regarding the dismissed AG’s and the politicization of all branches of our federal government.
A coalition of 250 delegates has taken issue with the US and it’s handling of discrimination at the conference, stating we, as a nation, have failed dismally to live up to our obligations. U.S. Human Rights Network Executive Director, Ajamu Baraka gives us his take on the matter:
“The persistent and systematic issues of racial discrimination have not been addressed by this government,” said Baraka. “From Katrina, the ongoing crisis of Katrina in the Gulf Coast in the south, migrant rights, the ongoing police brutality, housing issues-we find that these issues have escaped the scrutiny and the readjustment by the U.S. government in their obligation to the CERD (Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination) treaty.”
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When will it be realized?
This is the entire speech, not just a piece of it. Its 17 minutes long, but imho..worth your time.
Now, the second video is MLK at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, which btw, is the same Church Obama spoke at yesterday. It is MLK talking about why he opposes the Vietnam war. Its just as timely today as it was in 1967. He talks about the government silencing dissent..its scary how true everything he says in the video equates to NOW.
For a full text of this Anti-War speech you can go here, or after the jump read the passages which scare me because they are true today..just take out Vietnam and put in Iraq.
To continue reading MLK’s words about War click here