By Stephanie A. Walker Stradford and Eric Stradford, USMC Retired
LEFT: #INGODWETRUST is today’s Learn-2-Earn lesson for youth. Yesterday, March 12, 2014, Freedom Riders were on the bus to their nation’s capital. photo @YouthUSA. RIGHT: Light of freedom — gone out. Perhaps in a supernatural show of favor, a shroud of darkness descended over the U.S. Capitol dome amid power outages throughout Washington, D.C. Wednesday night. @BuzzFeedStorm
AMWS, March 13, 2013, Washington, DC - Voting Rights advocates, commemorating the 49th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, rose early Monday morning to protest the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling in SHELBY COUNTY, ALABAMA v. HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL, ET AL. Traveling by bus, vans, cars, and wireless internet, a new generation of Freedom Riders laid footprints on state capitols making their way from Montgomery, AL to the nation’s capitol.
SCOTUS ruled 5-4 on June 25, 2013 that Section 4 of The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was unconstitutional, stating, "The conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions." The majority opinion partnered Chief Justice John G. Roberts with Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito in a 21st Century movement against all Americans. The white-sheet-to-black-robe-justice movement incited a counter “Saving OurSelves” (SOS) Movement against injustice, fighting for a range of causes stemming from the right to vote.
On the bus from Selma, a new generation of civil rights advocates tweeted and emailed their way to Capitol Hill demonstrating the use of Internet in lifting up their voices to the 113th U.S. Congress. The legislative body, dubbed the “do nothing congress,” has received at least one issue around which they might rally COMMUNITY over CHAOS.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek,” said President Barack Obama.
YouthUSA has been working with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to develop its historic evidence-based intervention into modern-day applications for Healing America. “Racism is alive and well,” said SCLC National President Charles Steele, Jr. “And, there’s a mean spirit going around where people are still trying to discriminate and destroy the heritage of African Americans.”
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and others have signed on with President Obama to fund appropriate programs that help achieve “racial equity.” SCLC has been on the bridge for the last 50 years pleading for parity – equal justice and equal opportunity for all. The President’s “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative” establishes a White House Task Force to help connect means of One Nation Under God with historically unmet needs.
The Selma-based 21st Century Youth Leaders Movement is sponsored by The National Voting Rights Museum. A partnership with Youth Achievers USA Institute (YouthUSA), a national 501c3 public charity, engages local youth in demonstrating that blind justice can and must be color-blind as well.
Dr. H. Benjamin Williams, a local SCLC chapter president, is spearheading a bottoms-up movement for historic civil rights organizations from Information to Operation. “Our mission is to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” he said. “America’s future begins on Our Street. That means putting our youth first, and banking on their futures because our national security depends on it. Their security demands intentional pro-social economic investment in their futures.