Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere:

This quote, by Dr. Martin Luther king, makes an obvious point, but too many people don’t understand it. When an injustice is done to one person, everyone else has to wonder what it would take for that same injustice to be done to me. If its buying skittles and sweet tea than Houston we have a problem. These are the things we cannot ignore.

Sadly, that is a question that many people I know just don’t think about. They may say that it is a shame that something bad happened, but they don’t consider the possibility that it could happen to them.

If you have faith in the system, and faith that the incident was only a one time mistake, that might be a justifiable reaction. But that isn’t the kind of incident that this quote is about.

This quote is about a system with bias. A Corrupt system that lets people like Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman walk. A system that targets some people while letting others escape. An uneven and unjust system. And sadly, as humans are uneven and unjust, so are the systems we design. Thus the quote urges us to work towards being as even as we can, so all may have justice.

Unfortunately injustice is happening right out our door steps and most don’t now it. My state rep. Congressman Clovis Watson jr, who also happens to be my mothers ex-husband and very influential in my life, speaks highly of the importance of voting in our society and the influence of African American votes in the voting pool. Those who marched in The three Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 were part of the Selma Voting Rights Campaign that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act that year, a landmark federal achievement of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. I'm here to tell you all of that is being threatened. In June 2013 the voting act section 4 was removed. Through court ruling, removed. The very rights they marched for. Removed. Adversely effecting the ability of blacks to vote in elections. the ruling decision overturned critical aspects of the law. The law passed at the height of America’s civil rights movement, when citizens in parts of the country were fighting for their rights as African American citizens over how skin color impacts a person’s place in a democracy.

Now, its present and future are in doubt after the Supreme Court’s 5–4 decision that key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are no longer valid. The prevailing opinion leaves it to a divided Congress to revise the law, so that it’s constitutional in the minds of a majority of justices.

The main reason for the ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts (aka the vain of my existence) explained, was that “our country has changed” for the better. Deplorable conditions that spurred Congress five decades ago to require certain parts of the United States to “preclear” changes to voting laws “no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions.” Wrong. For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act — enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress — has helped secure the right to vote for millions of African Americans. The courts decision invalidated one of its core provisions upsetting decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent. As a nation, we’ve made a great deal of progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote. But this decision is a set back. Voting discrimination is still alive and even more prevalent post this decision. This ruling makes way for a plethora of injustices at the will of the state. We are stepping into a whole new form of Jim Crow. When Congress enacted the Voting Rights Act of 1965, it determined that racial discrimination in voting had been more prevalent in certain areas of the country. Section 4 of the Act established a formula to identify those target areas and to provide for more stringent remedies where appropriate. The first of these targeted remedies was a five-year suspension of “a test or device,” such as a literacy test as a prerequisite to register to vote. Without section 4 of the act doors have been opened for

1. Changing polling locations just days before elections.

2. Changing polling hours or eliminating the amount early voting days.

3. Reducing the number of polling places. particularly when the eliminated polling places had disproportionately served minority communities.

4. At-large elections. Such as for school-board members or city councils diluting the voting power of minorities who have greater influence in single-candidate district elections.

5. Packing majority-minority districts. pushing all of a community’s minorities in one or a handful of districts there again dilute their voting power.

6. Voter ID laws: an increasingly popular tactic to disenfranchise minorities who don’t have a driver’s license, or who don’t have the money or ability to obtain one a disproportionate.

For example: In 2012, DOJ objected to a Texas law that would have required voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot. DOJ found hundreds of thousands of registered voters did not have the necessary identification, and of those, a disproportionate number were Latino. Later that year, the reviewing federal district court agreed, finding the law would disproportionately burden African Americans and Latinos.

Immediately after this week’s Supreme Court ruling, Texas announced that it would move forward with that law after all. Its already beginning. Voter suppression is at a rise.

we must remain vigilant. They knew what they were doing. “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” (this quote is more relevant now than it ever has been) We must not stand for these injustices. A injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Those are just some of the oppressive tactics we will see in the upcoming years . They can occur without legislation. can happen because an election official or body of officials decided to make a change and didn’t really tell anybody. Quiet tactics of suppression. And we must not stand idly by as they try to dilute our voting power as African Americans.

In Justice is also occurring around our nation. In recent history many stories of police brutality have sparked nationwide protest and outrage as the country continues to grapple with its history of racial discrimination and police brutality, especially against African-Americans. Names such asJeremy Linhart and Walter Scott are just a few of the latest additions to a long list of black males killed by officers and vigilantes in a narrative that is becoming all too familiar to many people of color.

*throwback* lets relate this back to the Mike Brown incident in Ferguson that sparked so much controversy and media buzz.

The incident in Ferguson has not only highlighted longstanding racial tensions in the suburb itself, but has also laid bare the disparities facing black citizens in the entire country. While the Brown shooting again raises questions about the prevalence of racial profiling and police misconduct, it also reaches far beyond that, stressing ongoing issues of economic inequality, housing discrimination and unequal access to adequate education. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. This event seemed to be a breaking point, where a whole generation of millennial activist rose up to show injustice will no longer be tolerated. I too was outraged.

In conversation of what was going on half way across the country many of my peers told me either they didn’t know or that id didn’t concern them. Last time I checked an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. So it indeed concerns them.

I refused to sit back while things unfolded over there. Now of course I couldn’t hop on the next flight to join in peaceful protest. But there was something I could do, Every morning I stood to pledge allegiance to a country that supports such a corrupt and unjust legal system. I wouldn’t stand for it. So that’s exactly what I did, for a week’s time I silently sat at my desk while my class mates stood for the pledge. This did not go unnoticed. It opened the door, question were asked and it allowed me to educate my peers and show that we cannot stand for injustice such as that in this country even if we think it doesn’t directly affect us.

Now, I consider myself one of the Millennial. But the speaking out must not stop with this. The quote says injustice anywhere. And injustice is constantly occurring everywhere. We have to *throwback* keep talking Keep talking about the thousands killed and abducted in Nigeria by Boko Haram. (why did we stop talking about this?) Talk about the bodies of women and children still on the ground after several days. Talk about the 200+ schoolgirls still not returned to their families. Talk about the government and media’s deafening silence.

Keep talking about black lives and police brutality. About how stop and frisk is illegal. How we know there were lies in the case concerning Mike Brown. How Tamir Rice’s sister was forced to watch her brother die in front of her. How the NYPD has ceased to do their jobs and slandered Mayor Bill deBlasio because he mentioned that he talked to his black son about behavior around police. Talk about how many times Eric Garner said “i cant breath”. Talk about the resonance of the 8 shot fired into Walter Scotts back.

Why did we stop talking about this?

Keep talking. Don’t stay silent. Let us shout. Let them hear.

Martin Luther King inspired hundreds of thousands of people in the United States into actions against racism, to speak out, to keep talking, to end poverty, and for peace. Early December 1955, he led the first great non-violent protests of Afro-Americans in a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. The boycott lasted 382 days and ended after the US Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public buses was unconstitutional. In spring 1963, King and the student movement organised mass demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama. The white police officials responded violently and King was arrested for organizing sit-in demonstrations. In his ‘Letter from the Birmingham jail’, he puts the struggle against injustice in Birmingham in the broader context of the United States. He writes: “Moreover, I am cognizant of the inter-relatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In closing, Injustice anywhere is injustice where someone looked the other way and didn’t stop it. Justice is threatened because if we can look the other way so easily one time, we can do it every time even when it is extremely important. We have become desensitized to injustice unless it is actually happening to us.

Beyond these philosophical differences between just and unjust laws, there were political differences. A unjust law is forced on a minority by a majority who refuses to follow the law itself. For a law to be just, it must apply and be obeyed by majorities and minorities alike. King went beyond discussing and defining justice and injustice; he provided a manual for change. He advocated a path of civil disobedience, but not of reckless law-breaking; according to King, individuals should only break a law if it is truly unjust, and if one’s conscience will not permit obeying it. If someone chose to break a law, he or she must graciously accept whatever penalty or punishment administered by the authorities. The purpose of this type of nonviolent protest was to alert and inspire one’s community to take action. Although he advocated peace, King was not preaching a message of patience. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is pervaded by a sense of urgency that is especially powerful when contrasted against his message of nonviolence. He stated that he, and all who are discriminated against, cannot and should not have to wait for justice — the wait for justice was a great injustice in and of itself. And quite frankly we’ve been waiting far to long. Dr. king called upon his followers and admirers to demand their rights, for they would not be willingly given by their oppressors. And I am calling on you. My question to you is, are you listening.

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