Martin Luther King Jr Day and the Occupy Wall Street Movement
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up, which gives us a chance to reflect on how far we have come as a society, and remember those who worked tirelessly for the betterment of us all. Martin Luther King Jr. is probably the most recognizable figure in the American Civil Rights movement. He brought attention to race issues in the 1960’s, rallying citizens to end racial segregation by use of non-violent protest. He also worked to end poverty and bring about an end to the Vietnam War, before he was assassinated in 1968.
Dr. King’s contribution to civil rights and equality is undeniable: trying to explain to kids that in America, it used to be expected that you would treat other people differently because of the color of their skin, just results in puzzlement. Slowly, Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream has come true—our children are basically colorblind. His work is not yet completed, of course, there is still more to be done to accomplish true equality. But this success shows the effectiveness of peaceful activism.
His goals to end poverty and inequality are echoed in the Occupy Wall Street Movement, whose protest method is based upon Dr. King’s nonviolent activism. Dr. King’s methods were based on Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violent civil disobedience. The Occupy Wall Street movement’s actions are based upon the prior successes of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, and are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights allows for peaceful assembly and freedom of speech.
There are a large number of homeless protesters involved in the Occupy Wallstreet movement. After all, the economic downturn was fueled by just the types of issues the Occupy Wall Street movement is trying to bring to light: economic inequality and the corrupting power of major corporations. The homeless and jobless, most obviously affected by the recession, are the most bitterly appropriate people to represent the rest of the 99%. And as the states and the protesters began having differences about how public areas should be used, it brought to light the age-old issues of homelessness and poverty. Now that more people are at serious risk of becoming homeless and impoverished, some of those who already hit the bottom are speaking up to try and prevent the rest of us from sliding down.
In several cities across the nation, on the same November night, the protesters were evicted from public areas, effectively ending the Occupy Wall Street movement in its original form. However, the movement has grown quite large, gaining media exposure because of a popular lament, an abiding inclusiveness of varying points of view, and because the protesters insisted upon nonviolent protest. They have a breathtaking new tool in technology and social media, and have received the world’s attention.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy has rippled across generations. His method gained results and changed the world. Indeed, large numbers of people in countries all over the world have engaged in unarmed protests, demanding to be heard, and have seen results from their tireless activism. Although change is measured in years and not months, preventing the horrors and loss of life that result from violent uprisings is worth the wait.
People Politico Sources