As the nation prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, during which Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, it is difficult not to think about the attacks on voting rights and education we’ve seen this year in North Carolina and to feel like we’re stuck in a time warp.
Granted, the racial motivations behind today’s attacks aren’t as overt as they were in 1963. The changes to voting laws will make it more difficult for all low-income people to vote, regardless of race. The creation of school voucher programs will further segregate the poor from the rich and worsen the current inequities in North Carolina’s education system. That fact that minorities are disproportionately hurt by these measures – that’s just a fringe benefit.
The 1963 March on Washington offers us many lessons, not the least of which is that changing the world requires getting up on your feet and raising your voice. This Wednesday, while the official anniversary celebration of the March takes place in Washington, DC, you can protest the damaging changes state legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory have made in North Carolina.
The North Carolina NAACP is sponsoring 13 Forward Together rallies. There’s one in each of the state’s 13 congressional districts – Boone, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Concord, Dunn, Elizabeth City, Greensboro, Greenville, Lincolnton, Raleigh, Sylva, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. You can get the details here.
Remember, no one ever changed the world by sitting quietly and shaking her head.