Dream - essay
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
This is one of the last things I wrote for my would-be writer's class. My teacher thought I should blog it on some public site but this is the only place I really have. Not my normal funny story and teacher said it would be an essay. She had given us the word Dream to write on but as no dreams I could really think of as usually forget them as soon as I wake up, this is what came to mind...
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech at the 'March on Washington' in 1963. He was 34 years old and that speech is one of the most acclaimed speeches in U.S. history. Over 50 years ago he said the words that today are known as the "I Have a Dream" speech. It is about six pages long and if you have never read it, I hope you will do so. His dream is the same one our forefathers had when they wrote and signed the 'Declaration of Independence', to be free and equal and have justice for all.
The 'Civil Rights Act' was passed in 1964 and with it's passage the "Jim Crow" laws were slowly over turned. Although 'Brown vs The Board of Education' which the Supreme Court ruling ended segregation in 1955, it was still in practice in many parts of the country for years afterward. I remember the black students who had to face the governor, George Wallace, with the backing from federal troops to attend the University of Alabama. There was the 'Voting Rights Act' of 1965 which took years to get rights for many to be able to register and vote. We think it mostly in the South where racist and unfair not to mention illegal discrimination takes place but it is everywhere. You only have to look at our jails and prisons to see how 13% black vs 60-70% white population of the U.S. has over 4 times as many black as white inmates.
As the mother of two black teen boys this is a concern for me and I give warnings to my sons that I would not feel necessary if they were white especially about the police. We might look back to how much has improved since 1963 and feel that Dr. King's dream has been fulfilled but I doubt that if he was alive today he'd not still be fighting for justice and equality. It was only about a year ago that a young black man was in the backyard of his grandparent's home holding onto his cell phone. That young man, Stephon Clark, looked a lot like my older son. Stephon lived in Sacramento, Ca. and was killed by the police in his grandparent's backyard. The police say they thought the cell phone was a gun. Two officers shot 20 times, hitting the 22 year old young black man 8 times of which 4 shots were in his back and instead of getting medical help right away, the police officers waited for back-up. And what was the crime they think he committed? Breaking car windows, not exactly a capital OFFENCE.