MLK, Jr.: When a Dream Doesn’t Die
Fifty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the United States is still convulsed by racial inequality, but hope also remains.
By Marylín Luis Grillo
Posted: Wednesday 04 April 2018 | 09:35:06 PM
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
It was a single shot from a Remington-Peters rifle. Martin Luther King Jr. had fallen in Memphis, Tennessee.
Hours earlier, in a sermon, as if in anticipation of the bullet that tried to quell his throat, he had said to the congregation of the city: “We have difficult days ahead of us […] Like everyone else, I would like to have a long life. […] But that doesn’t worry me now. I just want to do God’s will. And he has allowed me to climb to the top of the mountain. And from there I saw the promised land. I may not get to her with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will reach the Promised Land. And I’m happy about it. Nothing worries me.
Luther King, who at the age of 39 had won the Nobel Peace Prize, had led a non-violent struggle for the civil rights of the African-American community, which had become the banner of hope… King did not die, because dreams do not die, they only come true.
The results of their struggle are not yet complete. Fifty years after his murder, the United States is still convulsed by inequality. The latest statistics illustrate that African-Americans suffer three times as many expulsions and school dropouts, their average household income is half that of white families, and with only 13 percent of the population, El País reported, they account for 40 percent of drug arrests.
A study by the Inequality of Opportunity Project also concluded that racial income disparities are one of the most persistent issues in American society, and that the racial identity to which one belongs marks the opportunities for study, work, salary levels, and social advancement from generation to generation.
Black people are also three times more likely than whites to be victims of police in the United States, and in 2015 alone, for example, with Barack Obama in the White House, law enforcement officers killed more unarmed blacks than armed whites. Faced with an Afro-descendant, the trigger is pulled without much attention.
Police repression, increasing inequality, debates in society about the role of identity groups, and Trump’s racist rhetoric are some of the factors that have led to the resurgence of movements like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the birth of others like Black Lives Matter.
“No Justice, No Peace” said one of the posters that flooded the streets of Sacramento a week ago protesting the death of another black man by police, 22-year-old Stephon Clark, who was shot down in the Californian capital on suspicion of breaking car windows and running around with a cell phone in his hand, which officers said they mistook for a gun.
Police opened fire up to 20 times on Clark and eight bullets hit him, seven from behind. The video of the arrest hardly shows whether the young man was approaching the officers or not. They do not order him to freez, or to lie on the ground, after the first order to show his hands, they immediately shout “gun” and shoot. The city has been shaken up again, but it is not enough.
This is a good time to remember Luther King. Less than two weeks ago, her nine-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee, was repeating the mythical words “I have a dream. She called for “a world without weapons”. His father, Martin Luther King III, son of the pastor, announced Friday the launch of a global initiative to encourage young people to focus on non-violence to resolve their conflicts.
The struggle continues, but it must be carried to its end; “from the mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” Dr. King would say. He was the same one who never stopped spreading faith because he had died: no bullet can kill dreams.