50th anniversary of March on Washington changed much, hopes to change more

One of the hopeful faces from the March on Washington 50 years ago today

One of the hopeful faces from the March on Washington 50 years ago today

Fifty years ago today, something momentous took place in Washington, D.C. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took to the podium at the historic March on Washington to deliver his famed “I Have a Dream” speech, the tapestry of the United States was set to be forever changed. Little did he realize that all these years later, his words would echo with as much resonance as they did that day.

What an amazing premise was the entire concept of the march. A peaceful, non-confrontational way to express the disappointment of a marginalized race of people, the walk drew participants from every walk of life. Rich or poor, young or old, even white or black, it didn’t matter; the mission was the same…equality. And 50 years later, Dr. King’s words still hang in the ears of those who still struggle for equality.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”

In 1963, those words did indeed ring true; with some caveats. Even though for the first time in history blacks were to be viewed as equal to their white brethren, many didn’t see it that way. To many, to be black was to still be inferior. And sadly, this is still in the mind of many in this country today. But much of what the March on Washington stood for is outside of race. The poverty level for blacks in that time was huge, and no opportunities were available. Before the march, there was no hope of this statistic changing. So while race was the impetus behind the march, what it really stood for was having the opportunity to have a chance…a chance at a better quality of life.

“We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro in Mississippi and the Negro in New You believes he has nothing to vote for.”

Affirmative action, anti-discrimination laws, and greater opportunities for education have all helped blacks in the U.S. to achieve that chance at a better life. Blacks have been offered greater opportunities in business, in their communities, in politics. Adopting the moniker African Americans, we have chosen to pick up the gauntlet that Dr. King threw down that day in 1963. Many of us have run with it, some have stumbled and fallen. But with the resiliency of a people long presumed to be destined for failure, we press on…and will continue to do so.

“We ain’t where we could be, we ain’t where we should be, but thank God we ain’t where we was.”

Fast forward 50 years, and today the struggle for equality has shifted. As African Americans, our pursuit of a better quality of life has been improved…but there is still ground to cover. And now, we need to take those lessons taught to us by Dr. King, and share them with those facing the marginalization and discrimination that many before us endured. And it is also important to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the pursuit.

“Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, we are free at last.”

Much thanks…to Dr. King, and to all those who had the courage to stand up to their beliefs. We all owe each and every one a debt of thanks.

Jeanne Manford, Founder of PFLAG, dead at 92

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Jeanne Manford and her son, Morty, in the Christopher Street Liberation Day parade.

For many, a world without PFLAG, the acronym for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, would be a very different world indeed. But if you ask many about the origins of the organization, you would be met with a blank stare. Sadly, the woman behind PFLAG’s existence has passed away at the age of 92.

Jeanne Manford’s passion for the civil rights of the GLBT community stemmed from the 1972 attack on her son, Morty. Morty survived the beating, but the event itself lit a fire in his mother that was not easily extinguished. From that moment on, Mrs. Manford, and elementary school teacher, felt it was her mission to build “a bridge between the gay community and the heterosexual community”.

Learn more about Jeanne Manford, and the legacy that is PFLAG here.

 

Ann Coulter does it again…she opens her mouth

It might truly be time fo Ann Coulter to check in for observation…

File this under the heading of cray-cray crazy. Conservative political pundit Ann Coulter has opened her trap and stuck not only her foot, but both arms and the cushions from a leather sofa in her mouth. In an interview on this past Sunday’s ABC “This Week” program, clueless Coulter, who was hawking her latest “book” (clearly written in crayon or while on medication), proclaimed that the quest for civil rights should only pertain to “the blacks.” Yes, you read that right…

Host George Stephanopoulos seemed genuinely perplexed by Coulter’s statements, but she stood her ground. In her opinion “various groups [including] gay rights groups, those defending immigrants, and feminists have commandeered the black civil rights experience.” Wait, it gets better…she then offered her own version of a history lesson by stating that “civil rights are for blacks” solely because of the U.S.’s “legacy of slavery and Jim Crow laws.”

Further seeding her dark cloud of hate, Coulter further pontificated that the U.S. owes no debt to anyone other than black Americans.

“We don’t owe the homeless,” said Coulter. “We don’t owe feminists. We don’t owe women who are desirous of having abortions, or gays who want to get married to one another.”

Stephanopoulos then countered by asking whether immigrant rights were not civil rights. Coulter’s response was succinct; “civil rights are for blacks.”

Anna banana took her final bow by asking “what have we done to the immigrants? We owe black people something. We have a legacy of slavery. Immigrants haven’t even been in this country.”

No word as to whether her comments extended to immigrants that landed at Ellis Island in the last century. View Ann’s rant by clicking the link here. What do you think of her statements? Weigh in with your comments.