Racial Injustice, Poverty, and War
The contrast is stark between the Civil Rights events in Washington, D.C. led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the January 6, 2021 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol of those seeking to overturn the legitimate election of President Joe Biden.
Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech was given in front of a peaceful crowd of nearly 250,000 people on the Washington Mall on August 28, 1963. Decades later, approximately 2,000 people attacked the U.S. Capitol complex, damaging and desecrating that sacred space.
This contrast between nonviolence and violence illustrates why Dr. King was given one of the greatest honors in the world—the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize—for his pursuit of civil rights and social justice using nonviolence. His Nobel Lecture on December 11 of that year still resonates today, because, sadly, it is still applicable.
While acknowledging all the wondrous things that science and technology had brought to this world, there were still three pressing problems: racial injustice, poverty, and war. One line that stands out, at least for me, is quoted below.
“All that I have said boils down to the point of affirming that mankind’s survival is dependent upon man’s ability to solve the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war; the solution of these problems is in turn dependent upon man squaring his moral progress with his scientific progress, and learning the practical art of living in harmony.”
Some blame the great divide we find in the U.S. today on social media and the information bubbles in which we cocoon ourselves. However, if that were true, how do we explain the divide that existed when Dr. King was alive, before the age of social media?
The divides in our society are man-made, and it is up to each of us to break down the barriers that divide us. Understanding the origins of the social and economic divides between Black and white communities is the point of our special event on January 20 titled “The Racial Wealth Gap Simulation.” From this program, you will learn how U.S. laws and policies have been used to help white Americans at the expense of Black Americans. This is truly an eye-opening event, and I hope you will join us on this journey to understand how our past shapes us today.