"A riot is the language of the unheard."
At 6:01 p.m., April 4, 1968, in Memphis Tennessee, as he stood on the Lorraine Motel's second-floor balcony, Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot by James Earl Ray. He was declared officially dead at 7:05 p.m at St Joseph's Hospital after emergency surgery.
Along with Mr. King that day died the greatest movement America has ever seen in the fight for equality, human rights and an end to racism, that has so divided this country for over a century.
MLK marched peacefully.
He spoke vigorously.
And stood relentlessly not just for days, weeks or months -- but for years to get his word spread, his message embraced and his confidence imbued to millions that mankind can co-exist peacefully, regardless of race, color or creed.
Where are we now? Let's examine our progress.
52 years have now passed since the assassination of Dr. King. Let's take stock of where America stands now in 2020:
Since Jan. 1, 2015 alone, 1,252 black people have been shot and killed by POLICE.
A recent investigation of verified statistics shows black people in the US are being shot and killed by POLICE at more than twice the rate of white people.
POLICE killings are one of the leading causes of death for young men in the United States, with the highest risk for black men at about 1 in 1,000 expecting to be killed.
These numbers are not progress. These numbers represent a regression of humanity. And they are not something America to be proud of.
These numbers are an outrage to equality.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a black man was needlessly murdered at the hands of the police in the Powderhorn community of Minneapolis, Minnesota. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, unnecessarily kept his knee on the right side of Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; according to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that time occurred after Floyd became unresponsive. Floyd was pronounced dead less an an hour later.
All over an alleged $20 counterfeit bill.
In these ensuring days across America and the world, protests have been held, marches walked, and riots flame in major cities screaming loudly against All That Divides Us and all that has continued to divide us for now over a century and a half.
While the media glorifies chaos for ratings, and our country's Congress panders to voters, the rest of us should focus on hearing the Voice that remains unheard.
Now, it's time to act and close our divide. Don't leave it to government. Something CAN be done about. By us. Right now.
The end of racism starts now, today, with each and every one of us.
It does not take violence to be heard. It takes Voices coming together and speaking the truth loud enough to be listened to.
Do these 3 simple steps, and we can build right now on the work started decades ago.
First – Embrace Basic Truth.
Remember that you, me and each of us were born free and equal.
Born without racism.
Born deserving of Dignity and Respect.
Let's agree and embrace this Basic Truth.
Second – Define Who You Are.
Define yourself starting today, and every day right now moving forward, by:
YOUR ACTIONS – NOT INACTION OR VIOLENCE TO HARM OTHERS.
HOW YOU TREAT OTHERS – WITH DIGNITY & RESPECT.
HOW YOU TREAT YOURSELF – WITH HONOR & INTEGRITY.
We may not have all the leadership we need right now from our government to resolve inequality. But we do have ourselves.
So let our voice be heard, starting within our own households, neighborhoods and across our communities.
We live in a Free Country. We have the liberty to determine our voice and actions and empower ourselves using those rights to Do the Right Thing and treat everyone with Dignity, Fairness and Respect.
By our actions, let's define ourselves better and further close this divide – not expand it.
We can all do more to stop racism. Every little thing we say and do will make a difference.
Three – Spread Respect.
If you see racial tension, unwind it.
If you hear a racial comment, squash it.
If you see racial bias, stop it.
Come to the defense of your fellow human beings. Don't turn your back.
Step up to the plate and take a swing in support of those being mistreated.
Speak out against racial abuse and speak out where you see no one talking.
This is about equality and respect. It is about all of us working together, arm in arm to fight racism and close this divide.
Together, we can all help make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Dream a Reality.
Let's act now.
We can start closing this divide when we decide we can.
These above 1 - 3 are steps we can all take today to help start making that happen.
Something CAN be done about it!
This message brought to you from my foundation at www.worldforhumanrights.org