On August 24, 2013 I attended the 50th anniversary of the MLK Jr. March on Washington with my 5-year-old daughter. It was probably one of the most beautiful events we’ve ever experienced together. I was amazed by the diversity at the march, the positivity and overall belief from those present in the fight for justice. Justice for jobs. Justice in the criminal justice system. Justice for Trayvon Martin. Justice in the economy. Justice for voting rights.
Honestly, I almost didn’t make it to the march. It’s not because I thought the event wasn’t important, but I just didn’t think I could make the time, in between work, school, parenting, and other activities. . . Who has time to go down to Washington? But I thought of my daughter who can say one day, “I was there.” It was important to me that she be apart of our history.
What saddened me was that despite the diversity in age, race and class, I wish that there had been as many people at the march that were at Made in America this past weekend or will be at the Morehouse/ Howard Nations Classic this weekend. My thoughts shift to my age appropriate peers because we are the ones that the burden of changing society falls on. I wonder where our priorities lie.
The scenario brings me back to the main conflict in “The Butler.” No real spoilers but, the movie follows the relationship between the butler father and activist son. The father did not publicly speak out against the injustices that were happening against African Americans meanwhile his son seemingly was involved in every movement against injustice. I’m not making a judgement that one way is better than the other but, I wonder if we all should be doing more.
Until people are as ecstatic about attending a march preventing the next Trayvon Martin or have a fully formed opinion on Syria, as they are for a weekend in Miami or attending the next homecoming, there will be a disconnect.
I wonder if our disconnect in engagement in efforts to bring about social justice is caused by our focus on the ‘me’ and our immediate needs and is apart of the reason why people sometimes forget that #racestillmatters. We have the power to change the injustices that are associated with race. Lets all resolve to honor the legacy of MLK Jr. and do one act of change, big or small, then when the moods strikes you try another. Lets ensure that the impact of the march isn’t isolated to one day.
by Yasmine-Imani McMorrin