Whenever people champion change or challenge the status quo, detractors will undoubtedly come. They will call you anarchists, extremists and troublemakers and will try to paint you as the problem. They will dismiss your grievances and cast doubt on your purpose, but remember that they did the same to some of our greatest leaders who pushed for change.
This week, I joined with the demonstrators of Occupy Wall Street as I broadcast my radio show live on location; this Saturday I will lead the National Action Network (NAN) rally for jobs and justice in Washington, D.C. As we address issues like corporate greed, an increasing wealth gap, lack of employment and unequal access in society, we will march on for our collective future. Don’t let the train of progress roll right past you.
For weeks, the disenfranchised have been gathering in Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan to voice their discontent with banks, other financial institutions and corporations that led to our economic downfall while amassing their own wealth. At a time when millions of Americans are without work and economic disparity is at astronomical levels, we need immediate financial reform, job growth and a level playing field.
Saturday I will be heading to the nation’s capital to lead our annual march for jobs and justice. We at NAN have been advocating for years for a redistribution of wealth that allows the historically marginalized to share in the benefits of society. Today, as more and more Americans find themselves outside of the small percentage that controls the bulk of our capital, we urge everyone to join us on Oct. 15 as we raise similar concerns and seek solutions to these most egregious injustices of our times.
As working Americans incessantly struggle to gain employment and livable wages, we watch rampant foreclosures and fluctuating markets most heavily impact those who are already suffering under tumultuous financial times. NAN and our partners in labor, education, civil rights and the church call on every man, woman and child who understands the urgency of social justice on all levels to join us in Washington, D.C., this Saturday.
If you have ever faced oppression, been discriminated against, lost your ability to provide for your family, lost decent health care, watched families be torn apart by mass incarceration rates or simply understand the nobility in fighting for equality, be sure to gather at the Lincoln Memorial as we carry on the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The day following our rally and march in Washington, the official Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial unveiling ceremony will take place. There was a time when this most noble civil rights leader of our nation was castigated and dismissed as an anarchist. There was a time when people said he was simply a troublemaker out to create havoc and instability. And there was a time when they did anything and everything to disparage his character and halt his mission. But Dr. King pressed on, just as we must press on today.
If you are unable to join an Occupy rally in your city or you cannot make it to our demonstration in Washington, be sure to actively create change in your immediate surroundings. Support the president’s jobs bill, hold Congress accountable and call out all those who are willing to hold our country hostage for their own political gain. We the people cannot be duped, nor can we be bought.
Whether it’s Occupy Wall Street or the annual rally for jobs and justice, we will continue on until justice prevails. Dr. King didn’t allow the naysayers to deter him; nor should we.