The Remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr.
50 years on.. Where are WE?
No pun intended; One can look back and say, We’ve come a long way baby… but not so hasty there my dear friend, we still have miles to go. As human beings, in this time of globalization we share this very fragile precious place we call Planet Earth.
Unprecedented at that time in the 1950-60`s, in American history, when Black lives were inhumanly treated, denied the most basic fundamental Rights. Their struggles, challenges and sacrifices, is the culmination of The Commemoration of the later Dr. Martin Luther King, with the Anniversary of 50 years since he spoke the famous “I Have A Dream Speech”. Dr. King’s non-violent movement, mobilised and created National outcry for freedom, justice and economic equality for all people of color.
As a young teen, old enough to remember this very powerful Civil Rights Movement led by Dr.King, it had a significance that impacted my life forever. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, a Black enclave where Blacks struggled to lift themselves up during this dark hour of American history.
In the Late 1960`s, I was a victim of police brutality. In my very early 20`s, in New York City, when I was assaulted and beaten by two white police officers. One Irish-American, the other Italian-American, handcuffed and called a smart Niggar… I was on semester break in my freshman year from college and visiting my girlfriend in the East Village at that time, and for no apparent reason except, being a person of color, what today is referred to as racial profiling; I was a victim of brutality and racism more than 40 years ago.. That experience lives with me until this day. This incident and experience is written more about, and to some extent in my forthcoming book, “The Journey”, along with many other experiences made of me being a father of 4 sons in a country, where I have strived to achieve the essence of Dr.King “I have a Dream.”
The recent murder of Trayvon Martin, was a flashback to what I experienced. He was a young Black boy of 17 years old, who died in a senseless shooting. His killer has gone free or acquitted, by a trail of his peers, a predominantly white jury, on the bases of racial profiling. The question and the value of Black boys life in the case of racial equality today is still significant and obvious with double standards. Here the United States still a divided nation, one black and one white. White Justice vs Black?
Has much has changed since Dr. King’s I have a dream speech? The question of having a Black President doesn’t mean that Dr. King’s dream is realised. America has voted for a Black President that represents the color, but certainly the question of the current President, does not mean he embodies what Dr. King’s dream or vision for the freedom and justice for African Americans.
African American are more polarized and plagued with crime, in the inner cities poverty is still a reality, more than a million Black men are incarcerated today in American prison, and unemployment is twice higher amongst the Black population than white unemployment, and the list goes on…
Has Dr. Kings dream been realized? Should the narrative of pomp, noble speeches and jubilant overtones by this commemoration be oversighted of where we really are? Unfortunately we still have miles to go, to make sure the moral context and sacrifices of Dr. King’s non-violent civil rights movement is transformed, when race and racism, with all its ugly inequalities and hidden agendas, and ability to morph into a white liberal narrative where color doesn’t matter, merely changes the dressing in the window..?
When the Morality of war and peace overshadows Good vs Evil. President Obama, commemorates Dr. King historical moral vision , so eloquently, as he goes off stage to the war room, trying to find a way to intervene in a conflict far from America’s borders, that might include bombing of a Sovereign State, Syria? How would Dr. Martin Luther King recognise or judge the vision of the Moral Compass, of the a leader of the free world, today?
Yes, the world is a different narrative 50 years on, and what has humanity learned from the sacrifices, deeds and vision of Dr. King? We clearly need to study, and listen to this great leader who we so passionately wish to commemorate and praise. Take the time to Listen to his Dream
We really can still learn what he stood for and hope that his life he gave for humanity was not in vain.
Back then, seeing these terrible images on Tv of African Americans being beaten, violently by police, abused by white supremacy groups (KKK), the burning of crosses and burning down churches, places of worship. Watching all this injustices happening around me. This was terrifying to me, still an innocent young teenager/man, and fraught with fear and disconcertment. Still I knew something good was happening during, this very powerful movement. “And We Shall Overcome” became a theme that carried millions of people, though with pride and dignity in such perilous and uncertain times; yet this was the history that inspired Dr. King to have the vision and courage to fight a struggle through non-violence. The inhumane treatment people experienced made people of color and some white unite and fight for what Dr. King doctrine that ultimately lead to our freedom, and his assassination..
Fifty Years ago; Dr Martin Luther King was a major figure in the fight against inequalities, injustices that impacted the lives of millions of people of color who were discriminated and denied their constitutional inalienable rights as African Americans..
50 years on the world is a very different place. As an expatriate and international traveler, I have been fortunate to experience change in Dr. King’s vision of hope that; “One day our children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” which has resonated to some extent today, but we are not completely there yet.
Now a father of four Sons living in a totally new environment for two decades, my struggle living in Scandinavia has inspired me to write my story, of the challenges, trials and tribulations of living in a homogeneous society, and my struggles as a father and person of color…Still today resonates another challenge and the question of color in a predominantly homogeneous society is a truly a test in this laboratory where national identity, language and cultural really challenges of Dr. Kings I have a Dream..Universally.
Here is the original written Dr. Martin Luther King speech “ I have a Dream” from 28. August 1963, on a Pdf file for those who would like to have a closer look at it. Copyright. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf