Photo courtesy ABC News

 

Editor:

I made it a point to watch the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington. I was impressed by the turnout. There were people of all genders and ethnicities.

As an African-American person, I grew up on the hopes and dreams of Dr. King. I’ve heard the “I Have A Dream” speech numerous times. The words never get old and I never get tired of listening to the message.

What makes me upset is that the words still ring true. I’m sad that 50 years later I have to still hope for my children to be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. The barriers of racism still exist in the U.S. I’ve experienced more racism in the last four years since Barack Obama became the president than I have in my entire life. It grieves my spirit that I can turn on the television to see an African-American president, but be harassed/profiled by the police the same day simply because I was picking my child up from school in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood.

It becomes more and more clear to me daily that just because we have an African-American president does not mean that we have arrived as a people. There are some of us who are still waiting on the platform for the arrival of the freedom train, hindered by socio-economic factors beyond the realm of our control.  Aspiring to a middle-class lifestyle is a great place to start, but that should only be a rung in the ladder of your success. In order for the African-American people to actually overcome, there has to be enough of us with wealth to reach back and bring someone else forward. That’s the foundation of financial success in every other culture.

I grew up in a middle-class family. We thought we were doing well to have good credit and a new car every three or four years. What we did not expect is that the rug would be pulled from underneath us. It’s not enough to just be able to pay your bills, you have to be able to write your own ticket. My father worked for 30-plus years, now the fate of his pension is being decided by a judge because of poor decisions made by other people. There is nothing that anyone can tell me to justify my father’s pension being diminished because of someone else’s poor choices.

Yet, the federal government has abandoned the people of the city of Detroit, but they bailed out the auto industry. How can the federal government bail out the industry, but not the people who built the cars that the president and his entire entourage ride in every day? Where’s their better bargain? Where is Dr. King’s dream for those people?

When it comes to freedom of U.S. citizens, there are so many roadblocks, but let another country get in trouble and the sky is the limit!

 

Debra Shepherd

Santa Monica