Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Shepastor: “50 Years and Counting… Truth is Marching”
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the historic “March on Washington.” Records indicate that the full name of the event was, “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” 50 years ago, approximately one quarter of a million people peacefully gathered to protest racial and economic injustices in America. Although great strides have been made, we still have a long way to go. Consider the following statistics given by the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Friday, August 23, 2013:
Earnings in Ohio:
African Americans made 81.2 cents for every $1 Euro Americans made
African Americans made 88.9 cents for every $1 Euro Americans made
“In 1966, the poverty rate for African Americans was nearly 42% (almost triple the overall rate).” In 2011, African Americans’ poverty rate remains high (but lower) at 28% (nearly double the overall rate)
In 1960, 3.1 percent of African Americans 25 and older had completed at least four years of college. The overall rate was 7.7% By 2012, 21.2% of African Americans 25 and older had completed at least 4 years of college. The overall rate was 30.9%
The same August 23, 2013 Cleveland Plain Dealer news paper provided a “report card” of the school districts spanning several counties throughout Northeast Ohio. No surprise, schools in the inner city and other poverty stricken areas where resources are minimal, student teacher ratio is high (in some instances, 52 students to 1 teacher), drugs and violence run rampant, schools were failing miserably. The surprise, however, came when poor grades were given to more prominent or “well off” districts for having minimal to low progress made in closing the achievement gap.
The grades revealed an unspoken and ugly truth… Even when oppressed peoples gain access to better environments (schools, jobs, neighborhoods, etc.), they still face systemic racism and classism. What good will it do if you attend school in a beautiful building, but are blocked from accessing classes and or curriculum that teaches higher level analytical thinking skills?
What are you benefited if you work downtown or in an affluent area, yet you make significantly less then someone of a lighter hue or a different gender? How is your circumstance made better if you purchase a beautiful home in a “nice” neighborhood, but your mortgage rate is significantly higher than that of your neighbor’s whose credit score may be the same or worse than yours?
The late singer song writer James Brown famously said, “If you deny a man an education, don’t get angry when he acts ignorantly.” Economic injustice produces poverty and oppression. Poverty and oppression produce ignorance. Ignorance produces rage and outrage. Rage and outrage produce destruction.
400 years of oppression will not be undone in 50 years. Truth must continue to march on. Truth must continue to be spoken to power. Truth must overrule ignorance in action. Truth must break the bow of the oppressor. Truth must never be silent. Let truth march on!
Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,