History shows that liberals need radicals. We need radicals because drastic change against entrenched evil and concentrated power requires personal bravery to the point of obsession. It requires a radical sensibility to look beyond today's limits and imagine what seems sheer impossibility within the current social order. And sometimes it's necessary to break the law to redeem the Constitution. No great social change in America has occurred without radicals, beginning with the struggle to end slavery. Causes that now seem mainstream began with radical, impolite and sometimes civil disobedient protest. But here's where the story gets complicated. Radicals also need liberals. Liberals can write policy proposals to their hearts' content. But unless they are backed by radicalism on the ground, they are playing in a sandbox.
What a terrible irony that in this year of celebration of the Selma marches we are witnessing the resurgence of overt law enforcement brutality and injustice in Ferguson, Cleveland, New York City, and elsewhere, reminding us how far we still have to go. The continuing protests against unequal justice under the law by those enjoined to protect all of us and all of our children after the deaths of teenager Michael Brown, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, and others are a wake-up call about the deeply embedded systemic racism still alive in America. Each of us has a responsibility to root it out and stop it in its tracks.
Last Saturday, during the 50th anniversary event of "Bloody Sunday," I spent many hours just looking at that bridge. The words that kept coming to me were "courage" and "resistance." My question became: What bridge we will now have to cross?
Let the anniversary of Selma inspire all of us to rededicate ourselves to the sacred conversations and actions needed for the pursuit of justice.
We are hearing a great deal from those in our society who would like to turn the clock back on voting rights, civil rights, and the right to peaceably assemble. But I believe there are many more people of good will among us than various news reports might lead us to believe. Hopefully, more of them will raise their voices in continuance of our search for "a more perfect Union."
Yes, we crossed the bridge half a century ago, and we crossed it again in a reenactment with the president this weekend, but 50 years from now at the 100th anniversary, we will be judged not by whether we brought a Black president to the bridge.
Clearly written and brimming with telling historical details and sharp insights, The Fierce Urgency of Now is essential reading not only for those who want to understand the Great Society but for everyone concerned with how it might be preserved or expanded.
The sad reality is that -- despite the considerable progress made in the last five decades -- we are still fighting to ensure voting rights for every American.
Quoting Amos may seem arcane and irrelevant, but it is clear and relevant, as it throws light on a perennial controversy, now rendered acute, in American life.
History will credit SNCC, SCLC, CORE, NAACP and many local organizations throughout the South in many campaigns, to get the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965. SNCC in Montgomery was a training ground in discipline, survival and how to channel anger into winning strategies through organization and confrontation.
We cannot raise awareness about the heroines and heroes of history, and then turn around and be cowards 50 years later. This Congress must deal with overt moves among states to obstruct people's right to vote, and they must restore federal protections of voting rights.
Paul's critics called her a fanatic. Her loyal followers considered her a self-sacrificing heroine who inspired women to take risks for the cause. She was a charismatic figure who not only had incredible leadership skills, but also was a gifted administrator, a rare combination.
As North Carolina spawned the lunch counter sit-ins that put the Civil Rights movement directly in the faces of ordinary Americans 55 years ago, the state is also giving America an effective model for social justice organizing in today's society -- the Forward Together movement.
These tragic incidents received a mere fraction of the attention they should have. While the focus of late has been on #BlackLivesMatter, it is important to address the violence visited upon other groups, including religious and ethnic minority groups -- whether by terrorists, vigilantes or police who believe they have a right to monitor and take not only black lives, but brown lives too.
The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland honors African-American heroes and heroines. Match the following heroines with her accomplishment.
Continue to rise and lift up your sisters and brothers who are also experiencing discrimination and abuse. Continue to strive for excellence in all of your endeavors, undaunted by the bad behavior of others.