Fifty years ago, at the Civil Rights March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, Martin Luther King said:
“I have a dream, that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood… I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Have we achieved it?
What we have now is CEO’s making 380 times what a typical production worker makes, according to AFL-CIO. Why don’t we have King’s dream? According to Ronald Colman in the Buddhist journal Shambala Sun, we measure the “progress” of our nation by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which contains all money produced or spent from the military-industrial complex, the burgeoning prison industry, the Gulf Coast cleanup and sweatshop clothes. The GDP doesn’t measure genuine racial equality, the warmth of our relationships, or the vitality of our community life.
Coleman refers to a Genuine Progress Indicator, developed in 1995, that adds gains such as sustainable agriculture, educational attainments or our health, for example. It measures economic costs such as crime, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and other liabilities and subtracts them. The index would rise if our society were to become more equal, whereas in the GDP, a peaceful society would be a liability.
Inequality spawns poor education, no parents at home, poor nutrition, children raised on video games, anger, gang activity, drug-use. Imagine the opposite. Imagine starting to go to sleep at night, mentally scanning the well being of your own beloved people, thinking of them being at peace, well fed, warm, living interesting, fulfilling lives, being safe. Then, extend those wishes to everyone in our nation.
Isn’t that what humans need to do for each other? If you dare, extend those wishes to the whole world.
Boulder Coalition and Alliance on Race is hosting a commemorative gathering on Wednesday to honor the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. This will happen at Canyon and Broadway. Meet at the south/west corner at 4:45 p.m. Bring signs with any message that honors the March on Washington and Dr. King’s message.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center’s “Peace Train” column appears every Friday in the Colorado Daily.