The permed up Rev. Al Sharpton wrote an article today speaking on race relations in America and how far we’ve come since the sit-ins, protests, and fire hoses.
In April of this year, it will be 43 years since the assassination of this nation’s premier civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During that tumultuous and volatile time in 1968, it would have been unfathomable to even think of having an African-American President or a billionaire named Oprah Winfrey who could own an entire television network. Even as recently as the 1980s in New York, when we were forced to tackle racial outbursts like those in Howard Beach and Bensonhurst, it would be difficult to imagine a day where we would be living side-by-side with one another in harmonious neighborhoods.
I still look at my scar from a stab wound at that protest in Bensonhurst, but I take comfort in the fact that I can look at my TV and see a black President salute a gay Latino Congressional aide who saved the life of a Jewish member of the House of Representatives in the state of Arizona. Dr. King’s vision is nearly fulfilled.
As we take pride in our tremendous collective progress, we must remember to utilize all of this renewed energy and apply it toward some of the areas in which we still can equalize the playing field.
We have harnessed the ability to heal and relate to one another on a very real and personal level, but now we must transfer that capability in the direction of education, employment and our criminal justice system. The vast majority of New Yorkers work alongside one another without racial or ethnic strife. We thankfully do not have open mob attacks on people, nor lynchings, nor segregation.
But what we do have is unequal access to jobs, quality education and an imbalanced prison culture. Once we rid society of racial discrimination on an institutional level, then and only then will Dr. King’s dream be fully realized.
After reading some of Rev. Al’s letter do you agree or disagree?? Have we come close to equalizing the country or are things just as bad as they were in the 50’s and 60’s??