Is There Still Hope for The Dream?

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say today but I knew that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was going to be the subject of this post. So I went to pull up the full “I have a Dream” speech on YouTube because it’s been a long time since I’ve heard the speech in its entirety. As I sat there listening, it was mind blowing just how relevant and powerful his words still are to this very day.

Now I don’t know if that is telling to the staying power of his words or to the sadness that they still ring true. In essence, we may have come far but within these last few years we seemed to have taken several steps backwards.  I guess you would have to listen for yourself to determine which one it is for you. For me it’s a bit of both. Yes of course those words he spoke that day still matter, even more so now, because before the last four years we were starting to see some of those dreams manifested and brought to fruition. Or were we?

We thought that we had started to see some change with President Obama because he was someone who truly took those words of Dr. King’s to heart and he embodied them and strived, with much opposition, to make those dreams a reality. We thought we had come farther, but within the last four years we have seen certain strides that were taken being walked back immensely. It makes you wonder, had we really even made any change? Was it all surface accomplishments but underneath, the roots, were still very present and had not yet been weeded out enough to allow sustainable growth?

That day on August 28th of 1963, Dr. King said that America needed to pull itself out of the quicksand of racial injustice in where people of color lived on an island of poverty amongst a vast ocean of material prosperity. He point out that America had not kept its promise to us and that it was in for a rude awakening if it expected things to go back to business as usual.  I think that he would be disheartened to see all of his words continually quoted by people who clearly have no deep understanding of what they actually mean because if they did then they would see that we only seek “the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

I think if he were still alive that he would find himself having to repeat those same words he spoke to those gathered around the Lincoln Memorial that day. I think he would feel obligated to remind the entitled groups of people who think the rules don’t apply to them that equality is not wrong, it is not unreasonable, and it is not unattainable.

I think he would also turn to those who have grown weary and tired, and yes complacent amongst those who would like to revert back to a time that our ancestors struggled so hard to lead us out of and tell them to keep moving forward. I think he would tell them that we cannot be satisfied with the status quo and we most certainly cannot leave this country in the fragmented state that we find ourselves in today. I think that he would remind people who are angry because we’re still explaining that we just want equality that they have to continue to strive for freedom but not by “drinking from a cup of bitterness and hatred.”

The song that plays at the very beginning of the recording of his speech is “We Shall Overcome” and as I listened to the words in that song, and replayed the words of his speech, I have to say that even in the current state of this country, I still have hope that we will be okay. I still think that Dr. King’s Dream is going to come true, someday, but we can’t give up, and we have to keep moving forward, until we are all Free At Last.  

Until next time… #BeFearless #BeBrave #BeRelentless

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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It Can’t Just Be US In This Fight

I struggled with what to write about today because I like to keep my content here positive, mostly, or at the very least, I like to be able to take something negative and put a positive slant on things in the end. I don’t know how to do that with the events that have taken place over the last week. However, as a black woman, with a black daughter, and close friends who have black sons, I didn’t see how I could really avoid addressing it at all. Let me start off by saying that I don’t condone violence in the name of justice and I don’t condone looting and the destruction of people’s property for the sake of justice either. Nevertheless, I get it. Black people are tired.

All black people have ever wanted was to be afforded the same opportunities and the same rights as any white person has in this country without having to explain why we deserve it. We want to be able to just exist in our own skin, in our own beauty, without having to be afraid that we may not make it home JUST because of the skin that we are in. Black people want to be able to trust that the police are really there to protect and serve them too and not just their fellow white Americans. We want the words “All men are created equal” (in the Declaration of Independence) which we understand were written in a time where black people were still considered property, to be upheld as what is true about the America we live in TODAY.

This is not an attack on white people because I don’t think that it is all of white America. This is an acknowledgment that the systemic nature of racism has not gone away it has just been lying dormant. Where we thought there might have been some change, with the current administration the racists who have been hiding in their closets for the last couple of decades have come out in droves. Now if you are a white person who is and has been an ally, this post isn’t about you. In fact we could use more people like you standing with us.

I am not one of the many people who think that it is a hopeless cause to find equality and peace in America for ALL of us. I just have too much optimism in my spirit and in my soul for that. I do think that it can’t just be US Black Americans who are fighting for us to be able to freely exist in this country. We need more of our white brothers and sisters because frankly, much like in the days of Martin Luther King Jr., it is going to take white America to be just as outraged at the treatment of Black Americans for there to be any kind of REAL change.

There needs to be a change that happens. This can’t keep going on. We can’t keep having this same fight, century after century, decade after decade, year after year. If you, white America, would not want to be judged based on the color of your skin everywhere you go, looked at as if you’re going to steal something just because you are white, repelled against when you walk down the street by everyone thinking that you’re going to harm them because you’re white, or afraid to even call the very institution that is supposed to be there to protect you because you are white, then why do you think that way of life is okay for someone who is black? Why do you think that it’s okay to treat a group of people in a manner in which would never be acceptable for you? The Black Community is TIRED and we just want to be free to exist and breathe the same way in which you are free to exist and breathe. Until next time… #BeCourageous #BeMindful #BeAnAlly

 

Jimmetta Carpenter 

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