Washington, D.C. is a beautiful place to be today, as thousands of men, women and children of all colors march for justice.
Twenty years ago, on a cool October day, hundreds of thousands of African-Americans from all over the country descended on our nation’s capitol to demand justice. The Million Man March was the fourth largest march in DC and the biggest gathering of black Americans in history. Two decades after that event, thousands once again descended on the National Mall to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the march and to protest the racial injustices still happening today.
Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, once again gave the keynote address at the event, just as he did in 1995. In a statement before the speech, Farrakhan said:
I plan to deliver an uncompromising message and call for the government of the United States to respond to our legitimate grievances.
As much as the right-wing would like us to believe we live in a “post-racial America” the last few years have shown that to be complete and utter bullshit. Trayvon Martin was walking home from a store and killed for “walking while black” by a vile racist. 12-year old Tamir Rice was playing in a city park when he was gunned down by the police for “playing while black.”
Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD officers for the horrible crime of “selling cigarettes while black.” Nine churchgoers in South Carolina were gunned down for “praying while black.” The list of senseless deaths go on and on and on.
In addition to basically not being able to do anything without being murdered, African-Americans are met with economic racism. They have a higher unemployment rate than their white counterparts. They are more likely to be denied housing than people who look as white as me. Their incarceration rate is six times higher than white people. Children lose their parents, the remaining parent is forced to seek out government assistance, they get stuck in subsidized housing in ghettos created by our government, and they are stuck in a never-ending cycle of poverty.
Many of my fellow white people don’t get this. They don’t get that 200 plus years of systematic racism has caused this. They say “oh, slavery was a long time ago, so just get over it” or “‘they’ don’t have to sit on the back of the bus anymore.”
Yeah, so those things may not be happening and racism may not be as overt — but it still exists.
Racism in 2015 can be felt.
It is that undercurrent of disgust you feel when you are in a room full of white people, watching the coverage of Black Lives Matter protests. It can be seen in our prison population, test scores in predominately minority schools, or when Republicans talk about welfare. It’s there, we just can’t always see it.
However, we will see it tomorrow or later this evening. Go to right-wing websites and look for coverage about this march and you will see it. It will be ugly and embarrassing.
Today was a beautiful day. Thousands of peaceful people came together and marched for justice. I just hope America can deliver.
Featured image via Twitter