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The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

The student news site of Milwaukee Area Technical College

MATC Times

Americans still dream of a brighter future 60 years after the March on Washington

Statue+at+Morehouse+Colleges+Martin+Luther+King+Jr.+Plaza
Photo by Christopher D’Allen
Statue at Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza

Monday commemorated the 60th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The demonstration served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enacted less than a year later. Organized by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, a coalition of labor, religious, and civil rights organizations joined under the shared banner of “Jobs and Freedom.” The most iconic moment arose from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s remarks, in which he boldly proclaimed, “I have a dream,” a sentiment that still resonates with many across the nation and the world.

Dr. King envisioned a world that would witness the end of racism, hatred and bigotry. Regrettably, that dream is under threat today. Everyday citizens, both ordinary and extraordinary, turned dreamers, persist in keeping hope alive that someday this nation can live up to Dr. King’s vision for the future.

The fight for equality extended beyond access to water fountains and lunch counter seats. Often overshadowed was the call for a more equitable distribution of wealth. The right to work, earn, and pursue the American dream has remained fundamental to the pursuit of equality. However, today’s racial wealth gap is even wider than it was in the 1960s. Present-day efforts to raise the minimum wage, combat wage stagnation, and empower the working class feel like uphill battles.

In a time when a united front is imperative to combat the social and economic injustices of our nation, division emerges as our most significant obstacle. In an increasingly divided nation, the work of dreamers remains critical. Shockingly, the nation remains divided on whether or not racial discrimination even exists, making it easier to argue about who has the moral high ground than to address the issues afflicting our nation.

In 2020, thousands marched in solidarity to protest the death of George Floyd, leading to the ban of the Confederate flag across the military and the state of Mississippi. For the first time, Mississippi ratified and hoisted a new flag over its capital, with 73% of the state’s voters in favor of the change.

Protestors peacfully march through neighborgoods calling or solidarity and action from Milwaukee officials during the 2020 George Floyd protests. (Photo by Christopher D’Allen)
Protester holds up homemade peace sign during a 2020 demonstration for George Floyd (Photo by Christopher D’Allen)

Yet, even with progress, recent events demonstrate the persistence of racial tensions. Just this Saturday, a racially motivated attack in Jacksonville, Florida, resulted in the tragic deaths of Angela Michelle Carr, 52; Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19; and Jarrald De’Shaun Gallion, 29. Jacksonville, a city still grappling with its own racist history, also faced disappointment when the US Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging Mississippi’s Jim Crow-era voting ban in June.

King proclaimed in his “I Have a Dream” speech, “We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until ‘justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.'”

Despite considerable progress since the Civil Rights era, many changes have been merely surface-level. From affirmative action to voting rights, the progress achieved after America embraced Dr. King’s dream is not guaranteed to endure. The responsibility falls on the dreamers of our nation to step up and take action if Dr. King’s vision is to ever become a reality. 

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About the Contributor
Christopher D’Allen, Editor-in-Chief
My name is Christopher D'Allen and I am the Editor-in-Chief for the MATC Times, a student run paper dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in scholastic journalism. The MATC Times stands as the voice of our students and a bastion of free speech for the communiy we represent. I joined the staff in my first semester at MATC and obtained my current position at the start of Summer '23. Here I am a photography student and hold a BA in Political Science and Spanish & Latin American Studies with a minor in Democracy and Justice Studies. I have worked an Administrative Assistant, World Language Instructor, a Head Lifeguard and Resident Assistant, but have found that my passion lies in the arts. As a photographer, I challenge myself daily to find a new perspective, capture a fleeting scene and turn moments into memories. As we work to relaunch the MATC Times website and grow our staff, I want to make joining our team as positive a learning experience and beneficial a work experience as possible. I strongly believe in the power of collaboration and inclusivity. As an Editor, I actively encourage diverse perspectives. Each student's unique viewpoint enriches our storytelling and fosters a sense of unity within our community. I aim to bridge the gap between words and images, revealing the untold stories that shape our community.