Challenging racial prejudice in the United States in the 1950s was a daunting undertaking and continues today. While African-Americans, in the main, again bore the brunt of the backlash, no single person, group, or institution put civil rights on the national agenda, and no one person, group, or institution saw to it that it stayed on the national agenda.
The changes in attitude and law that did occur, came about as the result of a shared commitment from many, many people who took risks, highlighted injustice, and press the cause for change. That commitment was not an easy one to make then and is missing on present civil and human rights agendas.
Today, its easy for some to forget the historical era of the fifties and sixties and the frequent deaths of civil rights activists. This is largely due to the lack of Black History infused in school curriculums and Baby Boomers failing to tell their children and grandchildren the stories as it relates to the civil rights movement.
During the civil rights movement, tens of thousands of people of all races risked not just their standing in the community, but also their lives, in the hope of building a coalition for racial equality that could not possibly be ignored. They succeeded in building coalitions, even if the highest ideals of the cause they promoted remain in some cases, unfulfilled.
The Movement as it came to be known was fueled not only by courageous African-Americans, but also by college students and religious leaders of many races. These activists employed the tactics of legal challenges and civil protests including sit-ins, marches, freedom rides and other initiatives in their efforts to see that African-Americans received equal opportunity and protection in the United States.
As some groups and individuals are advocating take back America, its important that the religious and civil rights communities rekindle a diverse movement that seeks to reform the criminal justice system, in the United States. Also to dismantle the influence of public, private, political, and economic interests in the prison industrial complex.
Over the years, I have come to see more and more clearly the ways in which the criminal/juvenile justice and the prison system in the United States is fundamentally, bias and must be at the top of a modern day civil and human rights movement.
Disparity has raised its ugly head in Congress against two senior political icons, Representatives Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters and because I care passionately about dismantling racism on all levels, we must address this modern day crisis as it continues to create hardships and fill jails and prisons and at a great lost and cost to African Americans, other minorities, and the poor.
“At no time do we condone wrongness on either side of the wall”
Richard P. Burton, Sr., Director
PROJECT R.E.A.C.H., INC.
P.O. Box 440248
Jacksonville, FL 32244
Bus: 904-786-7883 Cell: 610-349-3358