On Monday January 18, many of us celebrate a day without school.
Most of us will not remember one of the greatest Americans to have ever lived; the reason we do not have school on Monday.
He was a man who led a nonviolent movement against the heart of American oppression.
He marched alongside one million men and women in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963 and he demanded change from America.
He made the land of equal opportunity more equal than it had been at any moment in American history. His name is Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Civil Rights Acts that passed beginning in 1964 were only a start.
They were groundbreaking, but just a look at America today will remind you that what Martin Luther King, Jr. began in Montgomery, in 1955 with the bus boycotts, has not been finished.
While African Americans have gained suffrage and segregation has ended the woes of centuries of cultural division remain.
Racism, in other words has prevailed through the years.
Whether it is the rise of Donald Trump or the senseless killings of unarmed black teenagers by police and citizens, we must accept that racism, the boogeyman of American society, remains.
While we have outlawed segregation, it has not been destroyed. It still lives on, and many still have to pay the price.
In fact, a study found that in 2011, the percentage of black students in primarily white schools was the same as it was in 1968.
The years that followed the Civil Rights Acts showed that segregation was dissipating.
But since the nineties, school populations especially have since become increasingly more segregated.
The numbers show that we are not out of the shadows of segregation: 43 percent of Latinos and 38 percent of African Americans go to schools with less than 10 percent of the student body being white.
Segregation has been slowed down but it is not done with.
When it comes to the “chains of discrimination” King warned against, just listen to a Trump speech.
Listen to Trump chant racial and sexist slurs over the cheers of his audience.
Listen to him refer to Hillary Clinton losing the 2008 election as being “schlonged;” listen to him refer to Mexicans as drug dealers, rapists or murderers.
Trump is not met with boos and disgust; his poisonous rhetoric has given him the lead role in the Republican primary race.
And if it is true that politicians in a democratic society represent the ideas and opinions of the populous, than Trump is a roaring and uncontainable flame reminding America that racism has endured.
That racism, despite the years of struggle, still lives on.
When it comes to King’s statement about how the “Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity,” it is evident that income inequality has reached its highest levels since the pre Great Depression era.
In an America flush with “material prosperity,” we see that our minorities have not been able to enjoy that slice of the pie.
According to a survey by the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finance between the 2010-2013 range the median net worth of whites in America was 139,800 dollars, for non-whites it was 21,900.
I believe that says enough about the segregation of economic prosperity.
America still needs the service of Martin Luther King, Jr., and yet he is no longer here for us.
We need the next generation of great leaders to come and lead us out of the oppression, injustice and inequality that King spent his life fighting against.
I still dream of an equal America, and I know I am not alone.