As this week marks a half-century since Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial during a march on Washington, people are still questioning the nation’s progress against discrimination and racism. This year, our nation’s first black president will honor the fiftieth anniversary of the event when he addresses the masses who plan on meeting on the National Mall. Accompanied by two other former presidents, he is expected to commemorate the historic speech of the iconic slain civil rights leader. Many are wondering how much progress we have really made since that day.
One 81-year-old participant will be making his second trip for the cause. He cites a speech by Newark mayor Corey Booker who reminded the country the black community still suffers from job discrimination and racism. Underlying his words are a fresh Supreme Court decision to invalidate a part of the Voting Rights of 1965 and a recent acquittal of a neighborhood watchperson in the shooting of an unarmed, black teenager. Opinions remain divided on whether things have improved in the workplace since the mid-60s. In spite of historical achievements of people of color from Capitol Hill to the baseball diamond, many believe the racial divide is gathering momentum in America.
One expert claims that the economic gap between white and black and has intensified in the last fifty years. Allegations include twice as many poor and unemployed African-Americans since Dr. King gave his moving speech. Another key political figure has claimed the nation still embodies echoes of Jim Crow and segregation as well as lingering discrimination at the workplace.
One marcher was only 16 years old at the first event. He spoke of first-hand experience with job discrimination when he later applied for the position of union electrician after serving the country in the Air Force. He was adamantly informed he would never be hired because he was black. He is now retired and living in New Jersey and remains a steadfast civil rights activist. He will attend the march this year because he believes the country has a long way to go to ensure racial equality economically, especially at the workplace.
If you believe your rights have been violated on the workplace, it is in your best interest to consult with a qualified expert on race discrimination . Liberty and justice for all should not only be in theory.
nj.com, “New Jerseyans revisit March on Washington 50 years later” Richard Khavkine, David Giambusso, Aug. 25, 2013