My Partners in Hope…
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared his dream to the American people. The words he shared from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963 would become a living rallying cry for generations of people who continue the fight for equality for all disenfranchised people in this country and beyond. Though we have made great strides in this nation over the past 50 years, we are still far from realizing Dr. King’s lofty dream.
In the Tenth Anniversary Edition of Economic Justice for All, a Pastoral Letter on poverty drafted by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, we are reminded that the “rates of poverty in our nation are highest among those who have borne the brunt of racial prejudice and discrimination.” Prejudices, today, as well as the lasting effects from a national legacy of discrimination in the work place, in academia and in the political sphere, continue to present major roadblocks for racial minorities in an ongoing struggle to climb the economic ladder.
The Bishops identify three economies within one nation, saying:
- In one economy, people are prospering and producing in a new information age, coping well with the global marketplace and new economic challenges.
- In a second economy, people feel squeezed by declining real incomes and global economic competition. In this economy, people wonder whether they can afford college education for their children, [and] whether they can secure a decent retirement.
- In a third economy, people are growing more discouraged and despairing. Children are growing up desperately poor in the richest nation on earth. For many in this economy, the questions at the end of the month are whether they can afford the rent or groceries or heat.
This vast economic inequality means that millions of Americans are cut off from the economic, social, educational and political life of our nation.
The economic gap between this nation’s richest and poorest may continue to deepen. But I believe, so does our resolve to close that gap.
You and I understand that until all people, regardless of economic status or anything else used to divide us, can become one community, bound by respect, justice and mercy, there is still work to be done. I share Dr. King’s dream of equality for all people. I know you do too. And I thank you for standing with me and with all those who came before us to fight against injustice and inequality.
“I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)
Live in Hope!
Sister Lillian Murphy, RSM
Mercy Housing CEO