Dr. John Warren: The sadness of the March On Washington

by Dr. John E. Warren

To appreciate how far we have come since the 1963 March on Washington, D.C. with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one should not look at any photos or news coverage showing the number of people participating in the August 28th remembrance of the 1963 march and some of the actual film footage of the 250,000 plus people who came out for the 1963 march. Yes, today we have C-SPAN television, live coverage and social media streaming the event, but none of that should be a substitute for real live feet on the ground for what we shall call the Continuation March of 2023.

These comments are directed toward the masses of African Americans, particularly those who were absent from the struggle in terms of their physical presence. At the same time, there should be nothing but praise for the very organizations who joined Rev. Al Sharpton in the observance of this event and the elements of the dream, yet to be fulfilled. It was good to see some there who were with Dr. King 60 years ago on this very spot and it was even more rewarding to see two generations who were yet to be born stepping up and taking their place in the struggle. People like Dr. King’s granddaughter standing with her mother and father speaking both of the yet-to-be-fulfilled elements of the dream while remembering the Dreamer.

Two days later, we had a visible and visual reminder of the hate still based on the color of our skin as three Black people were murdered in a Dollar General just because of the color of their skin, in Jacksonville, Florida.

It was good to see that, just as in the murder of George Floyd, Blacks and Whites responded in protest by showing up and being visible against the violence out of a sense of humanity. These are positive signs toward the America that Dr. King saw, but these participants are not the ones that are a part of the ongoing problem. All over America, we see racists and bigots quoting Dr. King, out of context, as they seek to make deceptive associations with his remarks which were more about a check that America had given to Black people promising equality and fairness; a check that Dr. King said had been returned marked “insufficient funds”.

Yes, there were some great remarks made on the Mall, some of which spoke to our need for economic gains to close the gap between us and other Americans. But, let us not forget that we hold the keys to our economic and social liberation. The keys rest with the decisions we make over what we will accept collectively and how we choose to respond to the obstacles placed before us. We can focus on how we use our collective dollar power, or we can continue to squander what we have on our desires rather than our needs and expect something different from the same old actions. August 28th has come and gone, we are still here with many of the same problems. The question is what will we do today that will change our tomorrows?

(Dr. John E. Warren is Publisher, San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper)

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