I watched a little of the commemoration of the March on Washington and the "I Have a Dream" speech of MLK today. I saw some good speeches (Cory Booker represented) and some not so great (Nancy Pelosi was rambling, but she did have a point about wages), but I think Rev. Al Sharpton laid out where the movement is today regarding civil rights and employment accurately:
When it comes to voting rights, I can't help but say if there is anything that upsets me, it is that people aren't turned away specifically because of race or color or creed, but because of a statistical likelihood based on the same that they might not vote against their interests. Is there any point of voting but the outcomes of it being the will of the people? When it comes to our economic interests, it upsets me that any of us would be happy with anyone being economically or educationally disadvantaged, as if it somehow equals their own privilege being reinforced. Are we a nation united, or what?
The dream of the civil rights movement still has to go on, because just like our Constitution is about the promise of a "more perfect union", the fight for equality and justice, both economic and social, is an aspirational fight. The arc of history may bend towards justice, but it does so because of the outstretched and calloused hands of people bending the hell out of it. And when Texas and North Carolina and Florida and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania threaten to limit the vote in ways that might exclude any of us, regardless of race or color, but based on certain privileges--it is incumbent on us to make sure people have whatever ID's they need--to vote out the kind of people who would limit the franchise. And when Supreme Court justices pretend to cry crocodile tears over the seemingly cruel decisions they "have to" make, let's look again, and very hard, at why those decisions are being made and who sponsors them. (Because have you read the 15th Amendment? Or better-has Justice Scalia?)
I felt energized by by watching so many people talking about what we need to do as we march on, and also a little sad knowing about all that needs to be done. But I was glad that we are all still talking about doing, and not resting. Because even if we see today a world better than MLK knew, we can still see a little farther and imagine a little better. And that is what dreams are for.