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March on Washington: The Task at Hand
8/21/2013 11:44:30 AM


By Clay N. Middleton 

As many commemorate and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, we should also pause to focus on the part of Dr. King’s speech that most cannot recite by heart, renew our commitment to guard the positive changes that have been made as a result of the civil rights legislation of 1964, 1965 and 1968, and actively work towards tangible progress rather than feel-good moments. 

The demand of jobs and freedom remain relevant today just as it did 50 years ago. While we can point to achievements and advances made by individuals and institutions, economic stability and justice remain for a select few, a living wage and a level playing field of opportunity remain a thought, some still operate under the mantle of separate but equal, gentrification has displaced families and driven out most minority businesses, we suffer from a severe case of voter apathy, minority and woman representation remains far too low on public boards and the “C-suite” of corporate America, and those that have benefited from Jim Crow’s reign are more committed to turn back the clock than those that benefited from civil rights legislation are committed to prevent that from happening. 

Until a child born along the I-95 corridor has the same access to an above minimally adequate education as a child born along the I-85 corridor, there is work to do. Until barriers are removed that prevent all of voting age to vote, we cannot rest. Until efforts are put towards a living wage as they are for tax incentives for businesses, we cannot be content. Until majority and minority can truly mean that all men and women are created equal endowed by their creator with unalienable rights, there is a need to organize and act. And, yes, until the scale of justice is balanced and our union perfect, there is enough work for each of us to do.

We must remain on the battlefield so that in 2063, the battles of 1963 and 2013 are not fought again. We must be attentive and dedicated to having an agenda that will produce civil and human rights legislation for the 21st century and beyond and a citizenry that will stand guard of repealing such laws. By losing site of the shore, a clear vision, concrete goals and objectives, and an inclusive agenda will enable us to reach the destiny of equitable jobs, access to capital, justice, mutual respect, and a first rate public educational system regardless of zip code. 

The promissory note of freedom and security of justice King spoke about 50 years ago cannot be overshadowed by I have a dream. The vault of opportunity has yet to be open for all that desire a boost up. Unlike the many organizations and leaders of the March on Washington and Moses era, too few of the Joshua generation are willing to risk comfort, sacrifice for a just cause, and be true to self. 

As long as words exist, intentions are pure and a willing few are able to stand, we must work to achieve and sustain progress in order for every generation to demand that the checks cashed in1863,1963, and here on out are someday not returned marked “insufficient funds.”

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