When I first learned about the Civil Rights Movement as a child, I remember wondering with horror how so many members of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations could face such blatant and widespread injustice. Our teacher assured us that this type of struggle would never again be necessary in the land of opportunity. Nonetheless, our young class was adamant that our generation would take an active role in fighting prejudice and discrimination. Unfortunately, that teacher was incorrect, and now it is time for us to hold up our end of the bargain.
While in many ways, race relations in America have made very positive strides since the 1960s, in many others we have not made the progress that was expected. While mainstream racial attitudes have evolved, we now face a far more difficult battle with implicit biases. We may have seen the first black President, but we still live in a country where only 57% of black students have access to a full range of math and science courses. Though the past decade has seen the rise of the first ever black Attorney General, it has also seen African-Americans be incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. Though we publicly celebrate the rise of black athletes and entertainers in America, the median wealth of a white person is still 17.5 times greater than that of a black person. As a result, although some of our parents and grandparents marched on Washington in 1963, this summer we must march again to prove that our lives, our votes, our jobs, and our schools matter.
The America’s Journey for Justice gives us the unique ability to contextualize the progress we have made while embracing the future of activism. Common famously rapped that “No one can win the war individually/It takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy.” This march gives us a rare glimpse at that philosophy in action, and its success will be proven by the energy and authenticity at every rally.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience in which the nation’s oldest and most renowned civil rights organization will set the stage for young people to mobilize their communities and their country through a series of grassroots protests. America’s Journey for Justice is our generation’s chance to plant ourselves firmly on the right side of history. It is an opportunity to stand up for liberty, equality, and brotherhood across the country. This is our watershed moment, and it is imperative that we participate regardless of color, race, or creed.
Although we fight discrimination targeting the African-American race, our struggle should resonate across the human race to all those who refuse to accept a society that allows injustice to triumph. I strongly support America’s Journey for Justice, and I urge my fellow millennials to join me, so that it’s the last one we’ll ever need.