By Dwight Evans
Today, we reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the hope that his example recommits us to achieving the dream. We honor his work to help America move closer to its promise of liberty and justice for all, and we remember the struggles left unfinished.
Dr. King understood that economic inequality and injustice were inextricably linked, and before his life was cut short in 1968, he was engaged in an effort end poverty and thus end injustice:
“Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know now, that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?”
The Poor People’s Campaign that Dr. King was in the midst of launching was to demand that Congress do more to help the poor get jobs, a high-quality education for their children, healthcare, and decent housing.
Nearly fifty years later, this fight continues.
We have over 200,000 people in Philadelphia who live in “deep poverty,” the most of any big city in America. Too many are forced to work two jobs while struggling to make ends meet. Too many come home to streets filled with violence. And too many send their children to “substandard, inferior, quality-less schools.”
There are some who say that there is nothing we can do to solve these issues, but to those people Dr. King said, “there is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will.”
I believe we can build a stronger Philadelphia, and a stronger urban America, block by block because I know I’m not facing this challenge alone.
Together, I know we’ll move America closer to achieving Dr. King’s dream.
Thank you for being a part of this campaign.