Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dr. King's dream...deferred

Forty-one years ago today, a sniper's bullet took the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee. 'Twas the beginning of our summer of discontent.

In many ways Mr. King's dream has been fulfilled. On the spring evening in 1968, who would have believed that 40 years later an African-American would be elected President of the United States? Who would have believed that Houston would have elected a black mayor and that Harris County would have elected a woman as its district attorney?

I feel confident that as my daughters get older, these events that we find significant and almost unthinkable will be the norm.

However, despite the strides we have made to erase the color and gender barriers of the past, we still see an incredibly disproportionate number of blacks under restraint of our criminal justice system. We still see disparate sentencing depending on one's socio-economic position and we still must be ever vigilant to attempts by the state to exclude African-Americans from jury panels in criminal cases.

The day is brighter and the horizon wider, but we still have much to do.

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