Sandy Banks is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times whose work I have posted about previously. For example:
She just wrote another compelling piece titled, "Evolving fight for equality: Remembering King and reflecting on what remains to be done."
Please read the entire thing, because I can't do it justice by offering a few excerpts to make her poignant and astute points. Banks takes a hard look at how far we've come on this 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and how far we still have to go.
Short version: Character matters.
So when will I stop wondering whether the content of my character really matters more to strangers than the color of my skin?
Maybe when I'm not held accountable for the misdeeds of black people I have never met. [...]
It's hard to celebrate progress when we're busy name-calling, finger-pointing and shouting at one another. [...]
I've learned to consider online comments a minefield when I write about race. I cringe when I have to read them.
They tend to leave me angry and discouraged... maybe that nice man in line behind me at the market has a white hood in the trunk of his car. [...]
That same political muscle that helped elect a black president ought to be used to pressure legislators to support our interests: broader access to higher education, affordable healthcare, decent housing, an equitable justice system and stable, well-paying jobs. [...]
Solving those problems won't be as straightforward as eliminating poll taxes or integrating lunch counters. And the solutions won't come from men with stirring oratory and expensive suits.
The real leaders will be fathers who stick around and marry the mothers of their children; mothers who teach their children to respect themselves and one another; teachers, pastors, police officers, neighbors, professionals willing to reach back and mentor.
Please take the time to read the rest here.
The following speeches were some of the best of the best (There were so many!) at today's March On Washington's 5oth anniversary.
The videos show four incredible speeches in full made by a very well-received and news-making Attorney General Eric Holder, nine-year-old Asean Johnson (the youngest to speak), the awe-inspiring Rep. John Lewis (who, at 23, was the youngest speaker 50 years ago), and the inimitable co-organizer of today's march, Rev. Al Sharpton.
You can read my thoughts here: The long civil rights movement: “Everything has changed. Nothing has changed.”
We must keep
#AdvancingTheDream. We have no choice.
Photo: Paul J. Richards, AFP/Getty Images, courtesy of USA Today
As I watch the diverse, passionate crowds of thousands ("as high as 200,000" per MSNBC) of caring, patriotic Americans who understand what justice is and should be-- who see Republicans doing everything they can to turn back the clock and snatch democracy away from us as their last desperate attempt to win elections, who are ready to fight for voting rights, civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, equal rights-- my eyes well up with tears.
The depth of what I'm feeling can't possibly be expressed here, and I'm not even quite sure what it is. Whatever it is, it's complicated and it's real.
People have died for all of those rights. People have been abused, beaten, and killed standing up for those rights. People have watched, screamed, defied, marched, fought, suffered, and wept standing up for those rights.
Today we have cell phones, social media, TV screens, streaming audio and video, YouTube, Jumbotrons, and other sources of insta-info to get messages to each other, to share our battles, our sorrows, our determination, and our urgent and mandatory calls for organization. This is how we try to solve our problems as newspapers die and right wing extremists monopolize the air waves. We now march physically and virtually. And that offers us opportunities we never had before.
As I sit here listening, watching speaker after speaker at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I continue to tear up with pride, anger, frustration, shame, and hope.
We have to win this once and for all. We have no choice.
Without the right to vote, free and easy access to the polls, the ability to use our voices, we are not free and there is no democratic America.
Listen to those at the podium. Watch the historical clips as well as the current ones. Read. Inform yourselves. And just as important, inform others. Don't let ignorance and bigotry destroy what so many have sacrificed for.
That's why we're here. That's what we can do. Use your voice, listen, watch, share, and educate.
As Rev. Joseph Lowery, founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is saying right now: "Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. We come to Washington to commemorate, we're going back home to agitate."
Never stop fighting for your civil rights, not ever. Stand your ground.
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Kuwaiti Citizen Detained at Guantanamo since 2002
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