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Will we finally see The Promised Land soon?

04.4.2008 by André Natta · → Leave a comment

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Today we honor one of the most important and influential men in the history of our country by remembering the occasion of his death, what it meant to nation in 1968, and how it still affects us today.

The bullet that ended Dr. King’s pursuit of equality and justice for all, whether fired by James Earl Ray or not, still reverberates around the world 40 years later. There are several things that would say that King’s dream is one that is deferred to this day for many, particularly African Americans.

We cannot however deny the continuous signs of hope that many would point to, most notably in a city that has come to symbolize the turning point in the American Civil Rights movement. Dr. King described this label best the night before he died, saying that we here in Birmingham, Alabama “aroused the consciousness of this nation.”

For nearly 30 years, the person that has served as the elected leader of the city of Birmingham has been an African American. There are several men and women of color holding prominent positions throughout city government and among our region’s organizations, with many continuing to reach for the dream “that is deeply rooted in the American Dream.”

While we may have forced the nation to take a good look at itself in the mirror from the heart of Dixie in 1963, it’s interesting to point out that while the African Americans account for more than 70% of the population of the city of Birmingham, they only account for less than 5% of the owners of businesses in the city. Are we able to provide the support that we need for these businesses to survive and thrive, allowing more dreams to be fulfilled? Are we

Have we realized the dream or will we ever see The Promised Land?

Dr. King seemed to think that it was possible. He felt that he’d seen progress in the fight for equality, most notably in the remarks made in his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech the night before he died.

When will Birmingham reach The Promised Land? When will we stop looking at the glass half empty and begin to clamor for the changes that will make King’s dream a reality. Perhaps we must unfortunately take the stance that he did on the night before he died. We may not see it come to reality, but we must continue to fight for it if only for the benefit of those that come after us. To only provide lip service to it twice a year without action leaves the dream unfulfilled for people of all color and economic background and the chance for true freedom out of reach.

André Natta is the publisher of The Terminal.

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