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Same old, same old, 50 years later

Herb Boyd | , Elinor Tatum | 6/20/2013, 4:11 p.m. | Updated on 6/25/2013, 4:11 p.m.

In effect, we don’t need any report—no matter how well-meaning and instructive—to tell us about the depth and unrelieved onslaught of the misery index. We have talked until we were practically breathless about income inequality, the deplorable living wage, the absence of affordable housing and unemployment figures, that are more than twice as bad for Black Americans seeking meaningful work.

It’s good to be reminded about our problems; the real issue is how to we go about improving things. How do we marshal the wherewithal to make King’s dream a reality?

For many, the civil rights struggle was a calling and for those who fought so hard and sacrificed so much, they had hoped that the job had been done. They had hoped that the equality that was sought and the gains that were being made would continue and that 50 years later there would be equality and parity.

For so many of the next two generations, they were taught to work hard, go to school and use the advances that had been gained to make a better life. In essence, they were told, “We [the civil rights pioneers] have done the fighting for you, and now it is your turn to make us proud.”

But the fact is that we sat on our hands. We did not keep up the vigilance, and now, 50 years later, we need to learn to fight all over again, because the more things change, the more things remain the same. We have to stay vigilant. We need to keep King’s dream in the forefront, and as we teach our children to be the best they can be, we need to continuously teach them how to fight for the dream. If we don’t—as we have seen just in the past few years—there are those who will try at every turn to take away what little of the dream is left to save. Bring back the dream, and we bring back America.