Progression to be made to honor MLK’s legacy

 

DELMARVA – Many Americans have off today to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Who is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

His birthday is now honored in most places as a national holiday, which highlights African American progression. A lot of people know Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his “I Have A Dream” speech, however, activists share that he is more than a speech.

Adding that he paved the way for change that we have yet to achieve. “History is doomed to repeat itself if we do not pay attention to it,” says Dorien Rogers, President of the Maryland NAACP State Conference Youth and College Division

On August 28th, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I Have A Dream” speech, a speech that called out a need for change across the nation.

Rogers with the NAACP says King provided the blueprint for that change. “We’re talking about race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc. and Martin Luther King stood for those avenues. What are we doing to achieve collective liberation? he asks.

The Need for Change

Activists believe African Americans are advancing, however, King’s goal has not been met, saying we’re prepared to talk about the dream, but not the nightmare. “The nightmare that a lot of people of color, of intersectional backgrounds, continue to face is continued police brutality, housing insecurity, and student debt. Again the racial wealth gap is very much in existence to this day which again Martin Luther King has talked about in great extents,” Rogers says.

Here at home, Carl Snowden with the Caucus of African American Leaders says change also needs to be made. “We have a bridge named after a segregationist, it shouldn’t be, that bridge name should be changed so that it would reflect the progress that must be made on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” says Carl Snowden, Convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders of Anne Arundel County.

“I believe the Eastern Shore is doing a pretty good job of again retaining the diverse history of the Eastern Shore but again the question is: what are we doing to match action to our words? So we’re having the dialogs which I’m noticing, but what are we doing to put it into full effect? Rogers asks.

How To Activate Change?

Activists say in order to better our communities: “We need to go into communities that have continued to articulate what they have been going through, what actions need to be implemented to again ensure that our communities have access and can live their lives, just like everybody is trying to do,” Rogers explains.

Progression

Local civil rights leaders say Maryland’s progress is off to a slow start, but some has been made with many elected officials being African American. “60 years later, we see the work of Dr. King manifesting itself, as early as this coming Wednesday, Wes Moore will be inaugurated as our governor, it’s historic. “The governor is African American, the attorney general is African American, and the speaker of the house is African American. The treasurer for the state of Maryland is African American. We have 64 members, of the legislative Black Caucus, its the largest caucus in the nation,” says Snowden.

Carl Snowden says we are in a very historic time right now as Governor Wes Moore marks the third black governor in the nation’s history. He also is the First Black governor in the state of Maryland. Snowden also says Maryland is the second state in the nation to make Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday.

Carl Snowden says that Dr. King’s model has to be followed in order to unify the community, which is to organize, mobilize, and energize local communities.

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