Millions of African-Americans and other moderate whites in the US and across the globe have this weekend commemorated I have a dream’– the famous speech of Dr Martin Luther King, which was supposed to usher the land of Uncle Sam into a new era – the era of social justice, equal rights and racial harmony.
However, while some inroads have been made in this regard, Dr King’s dream is yet to fully become a reality in a country where people of colour are still regarded as second class citizens and viciousl persecuted by poverty, joblessness, HIV/Aids, violent crime, police brutality, and pinned down by a ‘racist’ legal justice system.
Fifty years on, terrible events, including the recent George Zimmerman saga, that have afflicted black communities in the US demonstrate that millions of African-Americans have a long way to go before getting a rightful place in the American sun.
Dr King’s spiritual, moral and physical efforts to see social injustice and racial segregation totally disappear in the world’s biggest economy appear to be a ‘work in progress’ as most whites, including judges, cops, politicians and the whole Academy Awards organisation, still refuse to make concessions and accept that history and destiny cannot be changed.
“This is not a time for nostalgic commemoration… The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more,” Dr King’s son Martin Luther King III told the cheering but nostalgic crowd gathered on Saturday from the white marble steps of the Washington’s Lincoln Memorial.
“Fifty years ago, my father stood upon this hallowed spot and the spirit of God spoke through him,” he said.
“Their march is now our march, and it must go on. Today we look to the work that remains unfinished,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “We want this nation to be all it was designed to be, and all it can be.”
The journey is indeed not complete, and Holder is right that the march must go on – regardless of the challenges encountered on the way.
It is indeed a long walk to complete freedom.
And as long as the ‘enemy’ still believes that he has the God-given right to ‘own’ the US, African-Americans will have to wait for another 50 years on the fringes of society before getting their status of first class citizens.
The struggle continues, but victory seems elusive.