Are we really our brother's keeper?

Miami Times Editorial Department | 9/5/2013, 9 a.m.

We have recently become a nation of marchers once again, taking a page out of the 1960s playbook to advance our individual causes and concerns. We’ve marched in the name of justice for Trayvon Martin; support for equal rights, including marriage, for members of the LGBT community; reproductive rights for women; greater parity in pay between men and women; and of course, the two commemorative marches that took place in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 24 and Sept. 28 — both intended to pay homage to those who led the way 50 years ago.

However, there was another purpose for our marching on Washington again — to take a frank look at how far this nation has come in terms of race relations and justice for all. For while members of both Black and brown communities can point to significant progress and advancement, there are far too many who are no better today than their parents or grandparents were five decades ago. They are part of the working poor or chronically unemployed who have no visible means of escape.

In the 60s we fought for desegregated schools — today our mostly-Black schools are the victims of diminished tax bases and fewer resources resulting in embarrassing test scores and ill-prepared students. In the 60s we fought for better housing and government assistance for communities of our own — today those places have become slums with crime running rampant where drive-by shootings are the norm.

We have successfully eliminated slavery, Jim Crow and segregation, only to see our lawmakers and shrewd businessmen turn the prison industrial complex into a multi-billion dollar industry where Black and brown men and women make up the largest percentage of “workers.” They are the indentured servants and chain gang members of the new millennium who even when freed from “bondage” remain second-class citizens stripped of their rights.

America has not been kind to Blacks since 1609 when the first of our ancestors took a “trip across the ocean.” So while we have Black judges, lawyers, Congressmen and even this nation’s first Black president, things are still far from equal. A commercial from the late 60s, made famous by Virginia Slims, touted this message to women [white that is] in the U.S. — “You’ve come along baby.”

But that was a result of the women’s movement working together in the name of their common issues and concerns. Maybe one day Blacks will do the same. It doesn’t matter how rich you are, how many degrees you have attained or the zip code in which you live. Black is unremovable.