A na­tional call for moral re­vival couldn’t be more timely

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - OPINION -

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was or­ga­niz­ing the orig­i­nal Poor Peo­ple’s Cam­paign 50 years ago he said, “We have moved from the era of civil rights to the era of hu­man rights, an era where we are called upon to raise cer­tain ba­sic ques­tions about the whole so­ci­ety.” The alarm­ing rise of racial pro­fil­ing and hate in­ci­dents from ha­rass­ment while driv­ing or eat­ing in a restau­rant or lob­by­ing at the state capi­tol or napping in a dorm, to tragic killings, de­por­ta­tions, and mass in­car­cer­a­tion are un­ac­cept­able vi­o­la­tions of hu­man rights.

De­hu­man­iza­tion was used his­tor­i­cally to jus­tify the enslave­ment of black peo­ple. White supremacy and racism is a deadly poi­son in­fect­ing our whole com­mu­nity and so­ci­ety. Its roots lie in the ex­tra profits that cor­po­ra­tions make by pay­ing Black and Latino men less, and women even less, en­rich­ing the 1 per­cent while im­pov­er­ish­ing en­tire com­mu­ni­ties. The ex­tra profits cor­po­ra­tions make by fos­ter­ing racial di­vi­sions that weaken the abil­ity of work­ers to come to­gether and form unions for bet­ter wages and work­ing con­di­tions en­riches the 1 per­cent and im­pov­er­ishes com­mu­ni­ties even more.

Dr. King warned that, “We must see now that the evils of racism, eco­nomic ex­ploita­tion and mil­i­tarism are all tied to­gether. And you can’t get rid of one with­out get­ting rid of the other.” Con­crete mea­sures must be taken at every level and in every in­sti­tu­tion to rec­og­nize and re­ject de­hu­man­iza­tion of any peo­ple and to cor­rect cen­turies of dis­crim­i­na­tory prac­tices. The an­ti­dote to the poi­son of racism is en­act­ing and en­forc­ing leg­is­la­tion and prac­tices that guar­an­tee rep­re­sen­ta­tion and the right to life, lib­erty and the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness for all.

To­day’s Poor Peo­ple’s Cam­paign is say­ing loud and clear: “We won’t be silent any more.”

Joelle Fish­man

New Haven

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