Scott Ableman/Flickr

WE HAVE ARRIVED!!!

WHAT A MYTH!

What we have done is accepted our plight. No, not all of us, but the vast majority, educated or not, have become apathetic and complacent. Even some like me, dedicated community organizers that were active participants in “The Dream:”

I was a child at the March on Washington; a violator in the riots; a militant in the aftermath; an activist/organizer and marshal in many later marches; and a grassroots community service worker for years.

I burned out, but I didn’t sell out! I allowed myself to “opt out” with a (shoulder-shrugging) plea of “Where’d everybody go?”

That was a cop-out. Many of the unsung leaders of the civil rights movement have gone. Certainly the ones that inspired me have died, aged or mellowed. They paid their dues, received little or no recognition, more or less faded into oblivion. My own (albeit righteous, spelled r-i-o-t-o-u-s) indignation lacked the fire to go on. I guess I deluded myself into believing my opinions no longer mattered.

Why?

Civil Rights Enactment?

Equality for All?

Younger, Stronger, More Intelligent Leadership?

Nope!

Appeasement (a policy of acceding to hostile demands in order to gain peace). I speak only FOR myself but TO those of you that have questions about your standing in the “ongoing” Civil Rights Movement.

We have not arrived and no, “this ain’t no lecture!”

“The Movement” cannot cease because we have staggering statistics in poverty, homelessness/fair rental/housing, mental and physical illness, child abuse, spousal abuse, hunger, unemployment, mortality-genocide and more. And we forgot that resolving these issues was the purpose of the movement.

We have not arrived. We have fallen backwards, because now that we have all these better educated citizens, we have all those worsened issues and another one: The empowered don’t care.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service indeed!

I did not stay up at night getting tendonitis, hand-drawing flyers, spending days knocking on doors till my feet were so sore I might not be able to march, talking till I was hoarse trying to get people to turn out for their own good, so people could remember Martin Luther King, Jr. one month a year doing what you should be doing anyway. I want to see the problems solved. Not to watch a society full of financially satisfied (appeased) social workers, politicians and “ethnically recognized professionals” bury their heads in the sand while the ones that made things possible for their higher living suffer in dismay, disbelief and disappointment.

REMEMBER THE DREAM!!!

Ken Martin is a Vendor/Artist for Street Sense. He has a background in community organizing as well as real estate. Ken operates a pop-up hat shop in the District. Learn more at www.brims4you.com.