Ending Poverty and Realizing the Dream
By Marsha Casey
“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Black History Month honors those who have paved the way for the victories and successes of African-Americans, ensuring each generation has a brighter future than the last. What started, thanks to historian Carter G. Woodson, in 1926 as a weeklong observance is now a month that celebrates of the accomplishments of African-Americans. I often wonder where our country would be today had it not been for the tireless efforts of Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and the countless others whose names never made it into the history books.
Though we’ve come a long way with respect to equality among all Americans, poverty is still an injustice that many face. During his second inaugural address on Jan. 21, President Barack Obama said, “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal—not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.”
This statement's power was only heightened by the fact that it was delivered by the first African-American president on a day observing the birth of a man who stood for civil rights, justice, and equality—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In order to see Dr. King’s dream realized, and show respect to those African-Americans who have sacrificed and advocated so that all people could have the rights they are entitled to, it is imperative that we work to put an end to poverty. As Black History month comes to a close, let's redouble our efforts to achieve Dr. King's vision of a "beloved community," in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. We must continue urging our lawmakers to set a goal to end hunger and reduce the federal deficit responsibly, so as not to further burden those who didn’t create it.
Marsha Casey is a media relations intern at Bread for the World. She is a student at Montgomery College Takoma Park, Silver Spring Campus.
Photo: Martin Luther King Jr. leaning on a lectern (1964). From the United States Library of Congress's prints and photographs division, through Wikimedia Commons.
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