March 21, 2009

Yesterday was March 21. Do you know what happened 44 years ago on that date?

On March 21, 1965, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. began the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama — and more than 3,000 people joined him. More than 3,000 civil rights demonstrators.

But don’t fool yourselves. Don’t let anyone fool you. The issue of race isn’t over in the USA.

Yes, we elected Barack Obama as our president. A person of color. A black man. But racism is still alive and well in the United States of America.

Today is March 22. Do you know what happened 27 years ago today?

On March 22, 1972, the U.S. Congress sent the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to the states for ratification.

Do you remember what happened? Defeat. The citizens of the USA did not ratify equal rights for women.

Oh sure, I remember what people said. Things like: “Women are already covered in the Constitution.” Gosh, that’s worked out well. Ha ha! Kinda like equal rights for people of color has worked so well.

Here in Rhode Island, rumor has it that a woman, the Honorable Maureen Goldberg, may become chief justice of our state’s Supreme Court. The first woman to hold the job. How wonderful that will be, if it’s true.

Only 6 years ago (on April 30, 2003), the Women’s Fund of RI sent a letter to our state’s Governor (who is still in office), because he had made 5 judicial appointments since taking office. And those appointees were all white men. Just imagine: 5 white men. How could it be possible that no woman, no person of color was qualified?

I’m sure not fooling myself that gender isn’t an issue in Rhode Island, in the USA, and everywhere else in the world, too. I hope you don’t fool yourself. And I hope you don’t let anyone fool themselves.

Race. Gender. Sexual orientation. All issues that aren’t discussed quite enough. All issues that violate basic human rights, the fundamental rights of our neighbors, friends, and strangers.

Filed under: Social Commentary

About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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