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Reviving A Dream

August 26, 2011

On Sunday, August 28, 2011, exactly 48 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was to be dedicated in Washington, DC. The first Memorial on the Mall dedicated to a non-President.

This celebratrion was to be the culminatiing event of the dreams of so many who worked tirelessly to see their dream of honoring Dr. King fulfilled. Those celebrations are now deferred. Not unlike King’s great “Dream” and the dreams of so many who have fought tirelessly towards the aims set forth on that day in 1963. But deferred those dreams are.

Without doubt, the soaring and prophetic rhetoric of Dr. King’s iconic”Dream” speech were the crescendo of that great gathering, but how many of us remember the other great speech of the day. I mean of  course the address by A. Philip Randolph, co-organizer of the March.

King’s speech, delivered in his halting baritone, was the energy that fueled our future hope, while Randolph’s speech resounded with the sobering reality of the time; and at it’s thesis was this declaration:

“We are the advanced guard of a massive moral revolution for jobs and freedom.”

Today, those of us who would stand and be counted are still standing the same charge.

Jobs and justice.

It is surreal the comparisons that can be made between the present reality and the picture that Randolph painted in 1963. We are still looking for a “free democratic society dedicated to the political, economic, and social advancement of man along moral lines. We are still live in a society where in a society in which millions of  black and white people are unemployed and millions more live in poverty. We are still OVERCOMING, though the song no longer rings out.

But even more sobering is the fact we still have the same enemies:

“Look for the enemies of Medicare, of high minimum wages, of social security, of federal aid to education, and there you will find the enemy of the Negro–the coalition of Dixicrats and reactionary Republicans that seek to dominate the Congress.”

Is this not what we are still dealing with? An intransigent Congress filled with the enemies of Mediccare; filled with those who would prefer we outsourced our workers, rather than pay our citizens the required fair wage; who want to destroy the social safety-nets and decrease funding of public education. Who are these enemies now, they are not named Dixicrat anymore – they are Tea Party members who have made their next evolution. They are the reactionary Republicans, now establishment RNC who filibuster and react to anything aimed at leveling (“shared sacrifice”) the playing field for all Americans.

Make no mistake. We are in the same fight. Many of us have now grown-up with the ability to sit where we want on buses – we have not had to endure the indignity of signs that say “White Only”, or be lynched for the afront of buying a home in the wrong neighborhood. But we are still fighting in Randolph’s eloquently displayed theater of war. It is time, therefore, that we who have grown up comfortable make our own evolutionary jumps. We must resume our “massive moral revolution”. We must march, not just at the onset of dedications and to gilded reception of press credentialed affairs, but in every village and every hamlet where are infrastructure needs repair. We must act in every city and every project that finds our brothers without gainful employee. Wherever injustice is observed, wherever poverty has a strangle hold and wherever hope has given way to despair WE MUST MOVE.

We must Revive the Dream, or succumb to the subtle erosion that apathy supplies.

A Philip Randolph knew what our moral imparative was, and I leave you with his words to the Negro (African-American):

“It falls to the Negro to reassert this proper priority of values because our ancestors were transformed from human personalities into private property. It falls to us to demand new forms of social planning, to create full employment, and to put automation at the service of human needs, not at the service of profits — for we are the first victims of unemployment. Negroes are in the forefront of today’s movement for social and racial justice because we know we cannot expect the realization of our aspirations through the same old anti-democratic social institutions and philosophies that have all along frustrated our aspirations.”

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