Friday, September 10, 2010

The Ultimate Human Rights Struggle

As a new band of Freedom Riders--the 21st Century Freedom Riders--set out from Birmingham, Alabama to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s grave site in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this summer (the weekend of July 23rd-24th, 2010 ), it's only fitting to reflect on the Freedom Ride that took place 50 years ago when a courageous group of individuals boarded buses in Washington, DC and set out across the Deep South en route to their destination city, New Orleans. It was a time when, although the Supreme Court had ruled that the status of "separate, but equal", when applied to blacks and whites in this country, was inherently unequal and thus, unjust, there were massive and often, violent, reactions when integration was actually put to the test in schools and colleges, restaurants and hotels and other public places.
Similarly, violent reactions erupted during that earlier Freedom Ride as the buses were stopped at various points along the route, their brave occupants beaten, incarcerated and subjected to various other forms of humiliation for attempting to put to right a great wrong, a great evil, in our society. Today's Freedom Riders, too, seek to redress today's gravest and most appalling injustice, the injustice of millions of the most innocent and vulnerable among us who are being denied the right to BE: as the brutal and shameful slaughter of our unborn brothers and sisters continues.
Abortion, is the gravest and most rampant evil to visit our society since our black brothers and sisters--mothers, fathers and children--were denied their personhood and treated as the property of another, also legally sanctioned by the Supreme Court. The High Court's 1973 rendering in "Roe vs. Wade", defined abortion as a woman's "right", because the personhood of the unborn was denied by the court, much as the "rights" of slave-owners were sanctioned in the Supreme Court's "Dred Scott Decision" as our African-American brothers and sisters were denied their personhood during that other, long-standing era of shame in our country's history. It was a time during which slavery was legally-sanctioned and the "rights" of slave-owners were upheld by the highest court in the land. (To Be Continued....)

Note: This article was adapted and expanded from my July 24th, 2010 "note" posted on Facebook.

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