Friday, January 15, 2016

MLK Day: Each of Us Has a Place in the New Civil Rights Movement - Lily's Blackboard

MLK Day: Each of Us Has a Place in the New Civil Rights Movement - Lily's Blackboard:

MLK Day: Each of Us Has a Place in the New Civil Rights Movement

Martin Luther King Jr. was fearless in calling attention to the persistent disconnect between our nation’s highest ideals and the stark reality for Black Americans. His forceful voice chastised the powerful and championed the powerless
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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Dr. King
Dr. King and the activists of the Civil Rights Movement inspired Americans to do more than dream of equal opportunity. Their righteous anger, unyielding voices, and moral authority became a demand – a demand that was impossible to ignore. Momentum for change grew with every sit-in, rally, and march. The movement gathered strength in spite of, and often because of, the intimidation and violent tactics that challenged it.
The movement was about equal rights in the voting place, on the job, in the school – in all places and all civic institutions. It was about being granted full citizenship regardless of gender, race, nationality, or cultural background.109844_Martin Luther King2
“Somewhere I read that the greatness of America was the right to protest for rights.” – Dr. King
The achievements and aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement were not the work of one man. Yet, the celebration of Martin Luther King Day gives us the opportunity to appreciate the life of a great leader who was a “drum major for justice,” and to acknowledge thateach of us has a place in the new Civil Rights Movement.
Now, there are some who wonder why we need a movement for justice and opportunity today. They become defensive and testy when they hear talk of theescalating wealth of the ultra-rich, the stubborn poverty in many urban centers and rural areas, the lack of classroom resources for students who live on the wrong side of town.
They don’t necessarily deny these problems; they either attribute them to the lack of individual effort, or they simply don’t think they are the defining issues of our time. They believe we are dissing American exceptionalism when we point out that although we’ve climbed many mountains, others remain in our path.
But I believe, as Dr. King did, that the true measure of one’s love of country is the willingness to look honestly at what we must do, roll up our sleeves, take a deep breath, and get to it.
It’s in that spirit that educators came together across the nation to support the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), envisioning it as a new frontier in the march toward social justice and equal opportunity. Education is a civil right.
On December 10, I was at the White House when President Obama signed the ESSA. He echoed Dr. King’s MLK Day: Each of Us Has a Place in the New Civil Rights Movement - Lily's Blackboard: