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The Mountaintop

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In the midst of such political and social turmoil, with a country divided by the haves and the have nots, where the youth are disenfranchised and criminalized; I find myself wondering will Dr. Martin Luther King’s prediction of a promise land ever come to fruition. Will there ever be a time when we are not separated by our differences but united by our common interest?

So as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King and other black leaders who have paved the way (Side note: Black History Month is every month), we must ask ourselves: would he say we have done all we could, or “Not Enough”?

With the second presidential term of our first black president, I wonder if we have allowed for society to pull the wool over our eyes, to make us think that the promise land is near? Did it make us think that change has come, but have we only taken two steps forward to be pushed 10 steps back?

Would King question our cradle-to-prison pipeline, throw books at our education system, protest with the Dreamers or stage another march on Washington–against the war happening on our very own American soil against woman. Don’t get me wrong, we have made tremendous gains in the fight for social equality but have we made lasting change? Are we no longer seeing color when we look at our fellow man, seeing financial status as we walk down the streets of our inner city neighborhoods?

The short answer to that is, YES! Because we have yet to reach the promise land that Dr King spoke about in his last sermon before his assassination, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” Some would say we may never reach this place of social mobility and racial equality.

I disagree but I also recognize that we have to stop being comfortable with being uncomfortable, or accept the crumbs society serves us.  We were promised more from this “country’s” founding fathers, A PROMISE LAND!

  • A place where we will no longer have to worry about uneven distribution of resources
  • A place free of racism and discrimination
  • Where we no longer have to attend funerals of the young ones, who lost their life before they were truly able to live
  • Where we will educate our citizens for something more than a standardized test

This is the place Martin spoke up, a place that I envision

If we are to reach this place, we need the young, old, black, white, rich,  poor because this is a journey that affects us all. One that will test the very foundation of this nation and throw into question all that some say is right and wrong.

I don’t know about you, but I am ready to get to the promise land. I refuse to live in a world where young people are dying of hunger, dying from lack of knowledge, dying from the wars on our streets and those abroad.

The promise land awaits us but we can only get there together. We all have to be willing to bleed for the possibility of change.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

We can no longer afford to stay silent.

Jamira Burley is a Philadelphia government executive , working to create platforms of enagement for policy makers and youth. In addition she consults on a number of issues including, global education, youth violence, gun violence, corporate responsibility, youth engagement and black male achievement.

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