P.S.-Pooh Says...

"What day is it? - 'It's today' - squeaked Piglet. 'My favourite day' - said Pooh."- A.A. Milne

27 August 2013

Still Marching Toward a Dream

"There is not anything more powerful than the marching feet of a determined people"
Rev Dr. Martin Luther King

"Fifty years later, those of us who are committed to the cause of justice need to pace ourselves because our struggle does not last for one day, one week or one year, but it is the struggle of a lifetime and each generation must do its part."
                                                                                                                         Rep. John Lewis


They marched for jobs, fair housing, equal pay, equal schools, an end to bias and discrimination and brutality.  They came to march, they came to sing,they came to protest,  they came to listen, and they came together.  People from every corner of this country, people from every background, every religion, every culture, every color-the famous and the jobless.

Yes, they came to hear Dr.King and what would be the speech that he would most be remembered for giving- the speech that talked of "his dream" and the speech that talked of a check written by a government to its people that was without funds, a promise that had not been kept.  That speech delivered in his signature cadence, his preacher's solo,  his force-he would leave the script at Mahalia Jackson's request from the stage to "tell them about the Dream Martin" and speak of his Dream, take the crowd "to church" and preach of a future that could be and must be realized .

" I still have a dream...  It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed …" "Every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together!"

 Fifty years ago over 250,000 people marched as one .  They spoke as one and they listened as one.  They came to the National Mall on August 1963 perhaps not knowing what would happen that day, but they knew they had to come and they had to be a part of whatever was ahead.  What came was the largest non-violent protest in history.   It was a peaceful day, there would be violence ,so much violence, ahead.  The movement, the struggle, would lose its voices, its leaders but on that day there was unity and peace.  The tide had turned and justice, though far from complete, would begin to crack forward and progress, for some unimaginable progress, would come from this non-violent revolution.  The protest movement would grow, women's rights, anti-war... but it was this day that led so many to believe that change could happen, and it could happen from a base of non-violence.


"This is our hope...This is the faith that I go back to the South with...With this faith,  we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day... And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true...  So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire … Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!... Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi...From every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

Fifty years later I look at those images, those placards and those faces from that August day and I question why we are unable to do it now. Civil Rights legislation passed, voting rights passed, a non-white man sits in the oval office and a black woman is one of the richest people in America -this country has changed in fifty years, but for so many in this country, too many, there is no voice that has yet to match the voice of that day, there is no movement that has risen in peaceful protest, there is no organization that can free itself of politics, yet those signs still need to be carried.

"And when this happens...when we allow freedom to ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up the day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'"