Friday, January 14, 2011

On second thought--”The time for justice, freedom and equality is always right now”

The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, is a movie inspired by a true story set in a deep southern Texas town that openly sanctions racism. It epitomizes the struggle “underdog” African American students and teachers experienced to gain an equitable education in an unjust society. A professor and coach, Denzel Washington, cultivates African-Americans to engage their intelligence and leads them to surpass Harvard University’s best and brightest Euro-American students. The power of words becomes sport. Winners take all, including becoming an historical powerhouse.
Although racially segregated water fountains, restaurants and public schools seem to have disappeared in 2010, the nation’s problematic achievement gap between black and white students and suburban and urban academic apartheid demonstrates that a deep-seeded racial divide persists.
“Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does” Supreme Court Justice Warren, May 17, 1954
The 1954 Supreme Court decision, offered by Chief Justice Warren, on Brown v. Board of Education and the 2001 federal mandate No Child Left Behind has yet to unravel centuries of wrongs committed against African Americans. We rise in anticipation of the fruition of these inherently moral and democratic rulings that attack the impact of racially segregating children into separate and unequal classrooms, schools, communities, economies, and academic opportunities where access to rich curriculum taught by skilled teachers is the norm.

The lawsuits brought against the Lower Merion School District and won by its African American community are a force for change. So be it we pray lest this time justice, freedom and equality take black students to the education Promised Land that it be by the hand of the Almighty’s “ten plagues and then the Red Sea.”.