By Ed Williams
Where is the American dream today? We continue the struggle fifty-four years after the March on Washington. Many of our communities have high unemployment, poor education, and high crime and incarceration. Many people have been faithful to the promises of America, and yet they are in peril and struggling to pay the bills and provide for their families. Many of us continue to struggle, hoping for a better future. We medicate our predicament to cover up the symptoms without addressing the root causes.
In many communities, we do not control our economics, media, land, resources, or distribution in order to make any credible impact on the sustainability of our communities. Many believe that integration was the cause of the disintegration of our communities. We are still segregated in many communities. It should be the business of government to make the playing field equal. We should take every opportunity to promote equal opportunity, justice and peace in every community. Where we live today, in many instances, still determines the quality of life and opportunities that we have. The absence of segregation is not integration or equality.
We must know our leaders’ character. It is not enough to have leaders who look like you. It is important to understand their vision, agenda and motives. How do our leaders affect our daily lives? Midway through the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. realized that the struggle for integration would ultimately become a struggle for economic rights.
In today’s world of globalization, can America continue to strive to provide opportunity to all without embracing diversity, integration, and immigration?
Embodied in the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our question today is: Will America continue to be open to the promise of immigration and opportunity to all that come to the land of bounty to those who follow the laws and where their only problem is that they were not born an American?
All over the world people want to be able to provide for their families, protect them, and to have respect among their fellow man. Those less fortunate want the same rules and laws to apply to everyone equally. Today, we have Gerrymandered political districts and communities that are de facto segregated.
As individuals, we should seek to participate in every level of our community and government to raise the expectations that we want to see. It is no longer good enough for us to accept the status quo, and to allow anyone to be treated as second-class citizens.
We should expect a high level of service in our communities. It is us who must make this change. Everyone can serve and become a drum major in their own way, a role model for all to follow.
Ed Williams, Ed.D., is Chair of Concerned Citizens For Effective Government