Social media is another powerful force for good enlightening people about the true details of slavery and its lasting ramifications. Slavery began in America in 1619 and legally ended in 1865. The effects on the descendants of slaves still exists and cannot be wished away. Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore have created the #American DOS movement using civic technology. Yvette is a writer and founder of Breaking Brown.com and Antonio Moore is an attorney and host of tonetalks.com. Yvette addresses America by writing, "You can't have a class politics that ignores over 400 years of oppression extending from slavery. You must implement policies of redress specifically for #American DOS first. Once our specific debt is paid, then we can restructure society in general." Their #American DOS movement along with their followers' commitment to getting justice is rooted in truth-telling which can inform and hopefully heal our country. It is the reckoning they say Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. spoke of.
The movement is calling for thoughtful and informed plans for reparations. It is through their work I discovered the masterful book "The Color of Law" in which the author Richard Rothstein states, "The core argument of this book is that African Americans were unconstitutionally denied the means and the right to integration in middle-class neighborhoods, and because this denial was state-sponsored, the nation is obligated to remedy it." Rothstein prefers the term remedies to reparations, as he feels it is America's moral obligation to remedy laws that created a caste system in our country, and even if the discriminating policies are off the books currently, the effects are still being felt.
The #American DOS movement is dedicated to having the debt paid to the victims. It is important to the movement to identify the descendants whose ancestors suffered captivity, emotional and physical torture, rape, forced labor, and whose back our country built itself upon. Carnell and Moore share eye-opening data with a focus on the wealth gap. They are making the vital point lineage matters, and it is the ancestors of slaves, not the recent immigrants who are owed reparations from America.
Communities are still suffering all over the country. The example of the hardships in Chicago communities proves that point. Wealth gaps create depressed areas. In some Chicago neighborhoods, for example, the high murder rate, and overall high crime rate, with staggering unemployment is a glaring example of our American failure to fundamentally remedy the effects of cruel and unjust laws that continue to impact communities.
Chicago's Catholic priest Michael Pfleger is a hero in his African American community because he cares so deeply. He is the beloved white pastor of Saint Sabina Church. Father Pfleger focuses on gun violence, police reform, racism, and the poverty that affects his congregation. He compares it to a war zone. He cries out with outrage at the lack of opportunity for his parishioners. Due to all the death, violence and suffering, he feels America is losing her soul. Father Pfleger wants the federal government to send resources through educational initiatives to create good schools, jobs to reduce unemployment and stop illegal guns coming into his community through neighboring states with loose laws.
Saint Sabina church is a real voice for the community, not just a place to hear the gospel. "Will we purpose in our hearts to take the venom of hate out of the bloodstream of America's veins and give her a transfusion with the blood of truth, justice, love, and righteousness? This is our time. This is our opportunity. Martin's dream is in our hands. And we will be accountable by generations yet unborn and by the God who places us here for such a time as this. How will Martin see us in the days to come?" Pfleger's sermon honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. poses thought-provoking questions.
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