Come A Long Way… Still Have A Ways To Go…

Selma 50 years ago

Image from usatoday.com

As a country, we recently commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March from Selma to Montgomery, also known as Bloody Sunday. Civil rights leaders, community activists, and anti-racist advocates marched in order to secure the right to vote – a privilege long denied to people of color in this country. Of course, racial and ethnic relations have improved significantly since that dreadful Sunday. Civil rights for marginalized persons, including people of color and women, have ameliorated many of the social, political, and economic problems that once plagued this nation. However, it should not be forgotten that, while we have made much progress in this country, we still have much more progress to make.

  1. Although we have had two black U.S. Supreme Court Justices, they have both been males. We also have three women on the Court, including a Latina as of 2009. What about a black female U.S. Supreme Court Justice?

    Supreme Court Now

    Image from voanews.com

  2. Although we now have a black president, he is a male. What about a female president? What about a black female president?
  3. Although we have had a female Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, we have not had a person of color to serve as the Speaker of the House. What about a black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. Speaker of the House?
  4. Although we have witnessed an increase in the number of females elected to the U.S. Senate, what about females of color? What about more males of color?

Aside from descriptive reasons, the lack of diversity among our political leaders, policy makers, and legal experts, has huge impacts on the day-to-day experiences of those who reside in this country. As this country continues to evolve in terms of racial and ethnic representation, our political leaders should create and/or interpret those laws and policies that reflect the interests of the changing U.S. population. Because they are the political leaders, policy makers, and legal experts, their perspectives, most likely shaped by their respective lived experiences in addition to their academic training, will without a doubt manifest into those laws and policies for which they have been elected or appointed to create. Thus, as we commemorate Bloody Sunday and relish in our achievements thus far, let us not forget we still have a long way to go…

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