First Person

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., taking a stand against racial violence

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Martin Luther King Jr. addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech during the Aug. 28, 1963, march on Washington, D.C. Photo: Photo: US Department of Defense / Wiki Commons

We stand together against racial violence in America—for the sake of justice and equality everywhere.

Martin Luther King Jr. can’t possibly be at peace while this nation he loved accepts so much violence in the name of law enforcement. We celebrate the legacy of Dr. King while we hold close his outrage and impatience. Our nation continues to leave black and other minority citizens behind. As a global organization fighting poverty and injustice, Oxfam America witnesses and works to end systemic violence and inequality all around the world.

Today, we are struck not just by the patterns of violence we see here at home, but by the courageous actions of Americans across the country who are standing up against such violence for the sake of justice and equality. We join them, arm in arm, marching, speaking, protesting that in this age such injustice can be accepted in our great nation. We must right this wrong.

Through our work with communities of color in the United States, we know that racial injustice and inequality continue to corrode all American lives, our national values, and the American dream. The pointless deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and Michael Brown and hundreds of others have highlighted a crisis in our country. Too many are dying from power used indiscriminately.

It is wrong that one in four black women in the US lives in poverty. It’s wrong that African Americans and other people of color are disproportionately stuck in low wage jobs, making supporting a family a daily struggle. It is wrong that one million black Americans are incarcerated, at a rate six times higher than white Americans while another half million live in the shadows as undocumented immigrants.

Oxfam supports efforts to engage in nonviolent witness against gun violence, racial inequality and discrimination. #blacklivesmatter, for example, has galvanized those in our nation who call for serious, immediate, systemic change. We call on elected and civic leaders to end the plague of unwarranted violence and to seek new solutions and reconciliation within and between our communities.

We call on our supporters to join together, not for a moment or only in support of a social media hashtag. We call for a movement that will catalyze the citizens of this country and help us all to realize the promise of America for all our people. Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+