MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Guest editorial by Earle Fisher with the Memphis Grassroots Organization Coalition:
April 4, 2017 marks 49 years since Dr. King was assassinated.
As the National Civil Rights Museum orchestrates a plethora of events in his honor and prepares for the historic 50th commemoration, those of us committed to the cause of justice and cultivated by the Black Freedom Movement must bear witness to the realities of how far we have or have not come.
What Dr. King called "The problem of poverty" in 1968 is still prevalent today with 21 percent of Memphians still living in it. Smart City Memphis suggests, "Today, 72 percent of White workers earn at least $15 an hour, but only 46 percent of people of color do. Those are the same levels as 1980."
So, as politicians, pundits, and even some preachers are emerging from behind the shadows of an obscure status quo, we now need a prophetic passion to move us beyond the pageantry.
It is sacrilegious to salute Dr. King through pomp and circumstance but never concretely address the platforms he stood on – poverty, better jobs (with higher wages), decent housing, quality education, justice, and peace.
Let's honor Dr. King this way - instead of simply providing sanitation workers with retirement packages, let's raise the wages of the city workers who make the least to at least $15 per hour. Instead of boasting about the number of police badges we produce, let's create an environment where we don't camouflage political surveillance under the guise of protection and service.
Honoring Dr. King takes more than banners, banquets, and even the demonstrations. Let's practice what King practiced and not just preach what King preached.
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