Monday, January 17, 2005

Where Is The MLK Of Today?

I Had A Dream
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.
Since I was young I've always gravitated towards Martin Luther King, Jr. In second grage, I can vividly remember being mesmerized by his "I Have a Dream" speech. His oratory, his stature and his courage never allowed me to feel outside of what I thought then as merely a black struggle for equality, but purely a just cause.

Today, I bristle at any criticism or blatant racism towards this day used to honor his life. Every year I hear the same refrain, "Why should we give this guy a holiday?" or "He only helped ten percent of the population." These comments have been pervasive at dinner tables and living rooms throughout my life. Is the notion of racial harmony anywhere closer than it was in the 1960s?

As I watch a biography of Dr. King's life I'm astonished by the depth of articulate and charismatic black leaders that surrounded the late civil rights leader. Men like Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young.

Where are the black leaders of today?

Will a man like Sen. Barack Obama invest all of his political power into Dr. King's struggle or will he apply it towards personal political gain and higher office?

Times are not any better for African-Americans today. They still can't expect their voting rights to be respected. Public policies still overtly turn a blind eye to their poverty and readily add to it.

This should be a problem of great concern for not only African-Americans but for all Americans. Sadly, Martin Luther King's dream of racial harmony is far from being reached without the rise of someone like himself.