We have just celebrated the life and work of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There were speeches by the faithful, “selected” quotations from the oppressors who needed to give the appearance of remembrance, and the singing of “We Shall Overcome” by everyone, including those who intend that we will never realize the dream on their watch as they work to turn the clock back to the status quo that existed before Dr. King’s speeches and protest marches to bring about equality.
For those of us who still realize that the struggle requires more than parades, breakfast gatherings and speeches, often by people who are the very ones blocking progress, we must move to a plan of action and join people like the Rev. Bishop William Barber, II who was co-chair and organizer of the 2022 Poor People’s March on Washington, D.C. in June of 2022.
If we don’t know how to get involved at our local level, then we must join those like Bishop Barber and give our energy as well as our dollars as an expression of our deeds in a struggle that continues. Our deeds must reflect our hearts in the decisions we make.
We must ask ourselves: “Are we doing things because of our personal commitment to the struggle or are we seeking personal recognition and positions of safety in those things we say we want to be involved in?”
For example, African-Americans still spend trillions of dollars each year, often on things we want and not on what we need or what we might do to help the needs of others around us.
We still spend needless dollars with people who neither respect nor appreciate us as a part of the American fabric.
Let’s take a hard look at the issues around us. Are we respected where we spend our money or just tolerated? Who are we singing “We Shall Overcome” with? Are we speaking to each other even when we have disagreements?
How do we honor and celebrate the man without having the heart of the man which allowed him to do the things he did?
We can celebrate and honor Dr. King by seeking to become as committed as he was when he recognized that “Injustice against anyone is injustice to everyone.” Let’s get about the business of having our deeds match our celebration of the man every day, as we take our place in the struggle.
Dr. John E. Warren is the publisher of the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper.
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