Tag Archives: Justice

Opinion: If Martin Luther King Jr Were Alive Today What Would He Be Doing- Do We Measure Up?

January 21st, 2019 and  another celebration of the life of martin Luther King, Jr. has come and gone. The acknowledgment of all of his accomplishments, the tributes have once again brought his legacy to the forefront. But this year, unlike the other years, the question came to mind as to just what he would be doing if he were alive today?

He, more likely than not, despite his age, would be marching alongside the women for the Women’s March, or joining those who are providing food to the furloughed workers, or maybe he would be in Puerto Rico, helping and encouraging those who are still suffering as a result of the hurricane which devastated the island, or even petitioning Trump and speaking out against the wall. One thing is certain, he would not be sitting back resting on his laurels.

March on Washington

He would encourage all to stand up and fight against injustice. He would remind us that in the beginning, he was just one voice, but what a voice it eventually became, saying the things that so many of us were thinking at the time, but too afraid to say. Or not knowing to whom to say it, or how.  Not that any of us should be deluded that we could ever fill his shoes, but we can follow in his footsteps. There is always the first voice, the first outcry, that creates a ripple in the ‘status quo’ pond, because one person, at some point, will hear it. And, even if that one voice is not successful, that voice is the first strike with a hammer against the wall of injustice. Silence is not an option, even though there are those who may ignore your voice, speak up you must.

Dr. King could no longer stomach the injustice not only that he was forced to live under, but had to witness. And, it is not a stretch to state that it made his stomach churn to the point that he could not remain silent. The amazing thing about Dr. King, he did all that he did out of love for all people and love for his country. His message of non-violence captured the world. And, his message and his example was to tell the truth, and thus, those who were perpetuating the evil status quo were angry when he spoke out and told the truth aloud, and not with a whisper. So tell the truth is what we must continue to do.

In our own lives, we must stand against injustice and unfairness, even if the odds are stacked against us. We must continue to speak out against it. The one small ripple will have an effect not only upon those who perpetuate evil and injustice, but also upon those who stand by and watch and say nothing at the time.  At some point in their lives, they will remember your one, small, voice.

We know that our voices are not always heard. We know that even when we tell the truth, it is a lie which is believed instead of the facts/truth which we assert. And make no mistake in thinking that it does not hurt, because it does.  So just would Dr. King have us do? He would never suggest that we remain silent.

    Ida B.Wells

How do we measure up? By challenging every lie, and injustice in a peaceful manner, through the courts, through marching, through petitions, but always peaceful. By challenging ourselves to continue to move forward in love, as hate cannot be allowed to rule the day. By moving forward with disciplined focus. And to speak truth to power without fear. A heroine such as Ida B Wells, who was one of the founding members of the NAACP is to be admired, as she, just like Dr. King, spoke out during a historical period when it was not ‘safe’ to do so but courageously spoke out and continued to do so.

Rosa Parks

We measure up by refusing to bury our heads in the sand. But, we also measure up by first having faith that we are right.

Celebrating his life is beautiful, but following in his footsteps in our own lives is a true tribute to his legacy, and will insure that his legacy will continue. Even if  your stand is frustrating and/or painful, and does not turn out the way that you, as an individual, would like, it is still a stand, for even the tiniest ripple moves the pond and a ripple in a river moves the water forward, even though the impact may be small.  Just remember these words which he spoke: “Truth crushed to the ground will rise again.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ida_B._Wells

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Opinion: When Justice Takes A Holiday

 

Every American citizen believes, (or wants to believe), that when it is time for their day in court, they will receive fair and equitable treatment. After all, even Jeffery Dahmer received a fair trial. However, if you are a person of color, your hopes are dashed, because some within the system see it as an opportunity to take ‘ a day off’ from the rules of justice, even the laws.  You walk in hopeful … you walk out disappointed, and, in some cases, hurt.  It seems as if  people of color are not considered equal and entitled to equal protection under the law. That’s when one loses their center of gravity, because all you ever believed in turns out to be a fantasy. Even though the reality was not ever addressed to you, you still bought it, because no one ever told you that it was not intended for you.

This does not just happen in criminal court, but it happens in civil court as well. Every person in the room, comes equipped with their own personal biases and stereotypes. And, in most cases, (not all), that includes the opposing attorney and the judge. You can be right, but no one hears your words, no one reads what you have written. Your skin tone speaks for you, and you are immediately dismissed.

If you quote a statute, you are ignored, because, after all, you are not even supposed to be able to read. If you represent yourself on something as small as a landlord/tenant dispute, if the opposing party is represented by an attorney, then a possible friendship or ‘professional loyalty‘ comes into play, and your standing is immediately diminished.  Indeed, there are fair judges within a county, but they are few and far between. And, one does breathe a sigh of relief when one encounters that rare, fair and unbiased judge. And that old saying about the person who represents themselves has a fool for a client is one which may have been created to keep attorneys with their jobs.

Many may not remember the Eddie Murphy skit about how things are different between the majority and minorities. Sure it was over-the-top comedy, but in some ways, in the American judicial system, it seems to ring very true.

But you stand there anyway, presenting your case, hoping that your words are at least heard and understood. You don’t give up, you present your evidence, only to soon learn that ‘your’ evidence does not matter. You may as well have presented a ‘kite’, because essentially, at the end, you feel that what was figuratively said to you was to “go fly a kite” . Once away from the court, you can not help but feel violated, cheated and hurt.  It is as if someone picked you up and shook you like a rag doll.

But what can be done?  One thing that can be done is to vote. Read up on the reviews of a judge and vote judges with poor reviews out of that position.  So many people just vote ‘yes’ on all of the judges, and that is a mistake. Take the time to research. Your vote counts and it is important that you exercise your personal responsibility to be a well-informed voter.

On paper, the American justice system is the best in the world.  And every single American is entitled to access to the fair and unbiased system which is not only on paper, but in the hearts and minds of all Americans.  It is instilled in our minds practically as soon as we can read and understand. It’s literally a promise. So, it is we, the American people, who have to hold that system to its word.

It should be the goal of everyone in this country to make certain that justice never, ever takes a holiday. It is not just people of color who suffer as a result, it’s America.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/eddie-murphy-1984-snl-skit-white-privilege-article-1.2409222

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/07/20/why-the-u-s-court-system-is-criminally-unjust/?noredirect=on

https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/01/american-justice-system-broken/https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/01/american-justice-system-broken/

 

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Filed under Injustice, Law & Justice, Opinion, Politics, Radar Opinion