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  • Skyla Jewell-Hammie

The Message of Martin Luther King Lives On

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

“There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality,” as said by the late Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. January 18, 2020 marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year. The words of Dr. King are alive more than ever because of the events that have transpired recently. The Black community is left reeling for justice after the horrific brutality that occurred last summer. Their voices appear to be silenced by the uproar of white supremacists and their agenda. The silence of their voices is ever more apparent with the clear disparity of self-restraint in law enforcement.

Dr. King had a dream for this nation. He had a dream that his children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. The US Capitol riot pathed a way for white supremacists to have a platform, but the demonstrations for BLM were deemed violent with a negative connotation. Why is that?

Last summer, Trump tweeted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” On Jan 6, 2021, before the storming of the Capitol, Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell,” giving the allusion that he would support them by any means necessary.

Fast-forward to Jan 8, 2021, about 28 BLM demonstrators were arrested by the NYPD in New York City, according to a report by the Independent. These arrests resulted from a peaceful march towards the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn. The march ended once protestors stopped at a confrontation with police.

When the protestors did not disperse as ordered, police began to arrest them with excessive force. The same use of excessive force is why demonstrators protest in the first place. The NYPD was sued recently by the New York Attorney General because of the same tactics last summer.

On a day where MLK is celebrated for his dreams of this nation, 28 BLM protestors are arrested while beating other protestors. Did law enforcement become inspired by the fight for human rights? Did they stop to take selfies with the demonstrators and march with them? No, they beat them on a day that celebrates equality and human rights.

When MLK passed, the Black community was left speechless. He was a beacon of light in a dark time of racial unrest, and once he was gone, it felt as though that light went with him too. Yet, here the Black community is: still fighting for racial justice while their voices continue to be contorted by extremists groups.

The fact is this: Black Lives Matter is a movement that is here to support and advocate for Black and Brown lives that are unrepresented economically, socially, and politically. ‘Blue Lives Matter’ does not revolve around ethnicity or race. Law enforcement can take off the badge and the bulletproof vest.

BIPOC individuals cannot “take off” the color of their skin after a workday. With that in mind, MLK would rejoice at the scene of peaceful demonstrators continuing to advocate for their rights and the rights of other BIPOC people.

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal,” said in Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

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