Civil rights worth it

The following is an essay that I wrote in Grade 7 as an entry for the Eastern Washington University Black Student Union’s student essay contest. I was awarded first prize in the contest. The essay was published in the local newspaper, The Cheney Press, on April 2, 1987. This was my first published paper. It was also the first time I attended a banquet, when the student union awarded me the prize money.

Civil rights worth it

Martin Luther King had a dream. He had a dream that one day the colour of your skin would not matter. He struggled for his dream, for his vision. But his was of such great magnitude that it could not be accomplished in one lifetime. Now it’s our turn; it’s our turn to fulfill Dr. King’s vision.

Rev. Martin Luther King fought for the rights of all Americans. King did not believe that violence was the answer to the problem that confronted him and all other Black Americans at the time. He protested with boycotts, sit ins, and marches. By protesting, without violence, for the rights of others, King strengthened the very foundation that this nation is made of.

Martin Luther King was a true martyr. He fought for his cause with all his heart and soul. King went to jail on numerous occasions. He watched his friends get beaten and thrown in jail. His home was bombed. All these acts of violence made the civil rights movement stronger. When America saw pictures of attack dogs tearing the clothes off of innocent people; when they saw a picture of a child being shot down by the water from a fire hose, they felt sorrow for King’s cause. When they watched and heard stories of people lying semiconscious in the street for hours with police standing nearby they felt feelings of disgust. When the American public heard the police officers tell the world that the semi-conscious man lying in the street did not “ask” for help, America knew that Blacks must be treated better. The acts of violence on peaceful, praying people made the civil rights movement strong.

To us, Martin Luther King’s vision is not yet here, to King it would be. Until the standards of Blacks are equal to that of caucasian America, the Blacks must continue to fight. They can’t stop at level two because they are use to level one. They must continue to fight for all their inalienable rights. Now we must educate the public, tell them things are OK, but need to get better. We need to review the laws to see if they are just and being enforced. It will take time and money to continue the civil rights movement. It will take a lot of effort to keep the soul of Dr. King’s idea alive, it will be worth it.

Critical Education Project

I am the founding organizer of the Critical Education Project, a network of North Coast and Skeena region educators.

Scrawler’s Academy

I am the lead facilitator of the Scrawler’s Academy, a creative writing program for teen authors.