28, 2004 is the 41st anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. What would he make of the following?
official Kerry/Edwards web site there is a section in which “civil
rights” is discussed under a headline of “equal opportunity for
all.” Beneath the headline is a picture of Senator Kerry addressing
a large gathering, and behind him are children who are of obviously
different ethnic backgrounds.
are these words:
removed the barriers of hate that kept us from drinking at the same
water fountain or attending the same school. Now, John Kerry and
John Edwards have a plan to help all Americans continue on our
journey to remove the barriers that keep us from drinking at the
same fountain of opportunity.”
this were true. John Kerry and John Edwards have the power to back
up this empty platitude with actual action, but to date they have
failed to live up to their own rhetoric. In fact, their actions
completely contradict these hollow words.
California State Supreme Court Justice named Janice Rogers Brown
languishes in legislative limbo because Democratic Senators
including Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards refuse to lift a finger to help
her. Judge Brown has been nominated to the U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals by President Bush and her nomination has been voted out of
the Senate Judiciary Committee to the Senate floor.
everyone’s counting she would be confirmed by a majority of
Senators, but Senators Kerry, Edwards, Kennedy and other Democrats
are blocking a full Senate vote on Judge Brown. Despite Judge
Brown’s outstanding qualifications and a record of excellence, many
of these white Senators are standing in front of the courthouse door
and denying this African-American woman an opportunity she has
Kerry, Edwards and Kennedy have spent much of their careers
championing the cause of blacks and women, railing relentlessly
against the “glass ceiling” that especially prevents women from
achieving equal status with men in the workplace. But when it is
completely in their power to strike a blow for equality and break
through that ceiling, they become a toxic mixture of chauvinism and
arrogance of these actions is, perhaps, driven by polls that tell
them they can take black votes for granted. The 2000 election saw
90 percent or more of African-Americans supporting Al Gore over
George W. Bush.
African-Americans aware of the injustice these Senators are doing to
this American success story? Every single one of us has either
suffered a similar injustice or we are very close to someone who
conventional wisdom among blacks is that such discrimination would
never come at the hands of Democratic politicians who attempt to wax
so poetically about “removing the barriers that keep us from
drinking at the same fountain of opportunity.” To date, the
Democratic Senators have not been made to answer for their actions,
and it is time they were made to do so.
years ago Dr. King excoriated then Alabama Gov. George Wallace: “His
lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification.”
One can’t help but wonder what
Dr. King would say about these white Senators, and how they are
treating the black daughter of an Alabama sharecropper who grew up
in the segregated south and has risen to the heights of her
like to claim they are the heirs to Dr. King’s legacy. For them to
have any credibility at all in that claim they must no longer deny
Judge Brown a vote on the Senate floor.
has a right to drink from the “fountain of opportunity,” and doing
anything less will mean those “barriers of hate” are still in place
with the names Kerry, Edwards, Kennedy and others emblazoned upon
is the national spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality, a
62-year old civil rights organization based in New York City.