At the historic March on Washington, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired us to “make real the promises of democracy,” sharing his dream that his children “will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Fifty years later, the unfinished business of realizing racial equality stands starkly illuminated in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin.
Many in communities of color understand that discrimination and oppression have persisted over the past 50 years, right alongside the civil and human rights victories of the past decades, including the election of the first African-American president. Now the spotlight focused on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case has illuminated the stark outlines of structural racism at work.
Here is the challenging truth: The same systems that disadvantage and marginalize African-Americans confer privileges on the white middle class, privileges that are hard for those who benefit to see or acknowledge.
“Liberty and justice for all” may be our national aspiration, but it is not our national reality.
We need to acknowledge the hard truths that are the first step to finally eradicating the legacy of racism, so every child can live in a future with truly equal opportunity and rights.
Resources to read and watch
Below is a selection of resources to use with your family, friends, or faith and community groups to foster dialogue and understanding.
Know of a resource you don’t see featured? Please let us know by emailing us.
Who Paved the Way? An 8-minute video by Kathy Budway about immigrants learning to confront racist stereotypes they learned were part of U.S. culture.
The Whole System Failed Trayvon Martin, by Charles Blow
Dis-Heartened: On recognizing the disease that killed Trayvon, by Niyonu Spann
Why I Work for Social Justice and Healing, by Lucy Duncan
Quakers respond to the Zimmerman verdict, compiled by Friends Journal
Under my Hoodie – a song
The Slave Patrol is Alive and Well in Florida on TruthOut
The book, The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
The film, Cracking the Codes: the System of Racial Inequality, by Shakti Butler
Race: The Power of an Illusion, a PBS three-part documentary
Little Black Boy Wonder, video by Omari Hardwick and other high-profile black actors
Attend a conference
Get email updates
Monthly stories and resources from AFSC.