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Glenn Beck Has It All Figured Out: Military Action Against Syria Is A Progressive Plot To Establish One World Government

On his radio show today, Glenn Beck explained to his listeners was is "really" going on with the talk of possible military action against Syria over its use of chemical weapons against civilians, revealing that the entire thing is part of a progressive/UN plot to create a one-world government.

Saying that it made no sense that the US would intervene militarily in Syria when it did nothing during the Rwanda genocide nearly twenty years ago, Beck explained that progressives in the US and around the world are seeking to weaken the United States' position as the lone superpower and are therefore pushing the nation toward a military conflict with Russia and China over Syria in order to allow the UN to step in and broker a peace deal that averts World War III and results in the establishment of a One World Government:

Barton: Atheism Is A Religion And Violation of Separation Of Church And State

Rep. John Fleming was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today, discussing his effort to prevent the military from creating positions for atheist chaplains. After Fleming alleged that the proposal itself was nothing more than an effort to drive religion out of the military, David Barton blamed the entire thing on the Supreme Court, delivering a convoluted argument alleging that atheism is itself a religion and therefore should be banned from public school in the name of separation of church and state:

The Supreme Court opened the door to all of this. Back in decisions like U.S. vs Seeger and others, the court, in their dislike for traditional religion, they defined religion as whatever someone believes so sincerely and so strongly that it affects the way they act.

Now, if that's the case, by the court's definition, atheism and humanism would be religious because they affect the way people act.  But if that's the case, then why don't we have the separation of church and state with them, if they're a religion?

Darwinism and evolution is a religion. Why don't we say 'hey, we can't teach Darwinism in school. That affects the way people behave.  I demand separation of church and state. Get Darwinism out of the classroom.'

Or why don't we say 'hey, I don't see any prayers going at graduation; that's atheism!  I demand separation of church and state. Atheism has chaplains, they're a religion. Get atheism out of the schools.'

Hmmm, so not having prayer in school is now a violation of the separation of church and state? So what is the solution?  To require prayer?  Because that's somehow not a violation? 

Today I Am Inspired, Today I Am Hopeful

Today I am inspired, today I am hopeful.

Not because we have won the fight that our Civil Rights leaders began. Not because we have created the world of which Dr. King dreamed. But because, 50 years later, we are still fighting. 50 years later, we march on.

As Dr. King said 50 years ago, ‘1963 is not an end, but a beginning.’ Those who marched in 1963 knew they wouldn’t heal all of our country’s wounds. They knew that new wounds would open and new struggles would arise. What they gave us was a framework for the fight, a blueprint for justice.

As we gather on the National Mall today to commemorate that day in 1963, let’s remember Dr. King’s words. The Civil Rights Movement didn’t shut the door on our painful past. Instead, it opened the door to a more just future.

Today, we are still fighting for equal access to the ballot box; for a criminal justice system that dispenses equal justice under the law; for the right to unionize and earn a living wage; for women’s equality; for the recognition of all families in the eyes of the law; for the rights and dignity of immigrants; for economic opportunity and access to the American dream.

The March on Washington gave a loud and clear signal that change is not only possible, it’s necessary.

As we begin the next 50 years of the fight, we must heed the call of 1963. We must call injustice by its name. We must keep on pursuing the dream, no matter how difficult, no matter how long the fight.

PFAW Foundation

Statement from the African American Ministers Leadership Council on 50th Anniversary of March on Washington

Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s  African American Ministers Leadership Council, released the following statement commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom:

Today I am inspired, today I am hopeful.

Not because we have won the fight that our Civil Rights leaders began. Not because we have created the world of which Dr. King dreamed. But because, 50 years later, we are still fighting. 50 years later, we march on.

As Dr. King said 50 years ago, ‘1963 is not an end, but a beginning.’ Those who marched in 1963 knew they wouldn’t heal all of our country’s wounds. They knew that new wounds would open and new struggles would arise. What they gave us was a framework for the fight, a blueprint for justice.

As we gather on the National Mall today to commemorate that day in 1963, let’s remember Dr. King’s words. The Civil Rights Movement didn’t shut the door on our painful past. Instead, it opened the door to a more just future.

Today, we are still fighting for equal access to the ballot box; for a criminal justice system that dispenses equal justice under the law; for the right to unionize and earn a living wage; for women’s equality; for the recognition of all families in the eyes of the law; for the rights and dignity of immigrants; for economic opportunity and access to the American dream.

The March on Washington gave a loud and clear signal that change is not only possible, it’s necessary.

As we begin the next 50 years of the fight, we must heed the call of 1963. We must call injustice by its name. We must keep on pursuing the dream, no matter how difficult, no matter how long the fight.
 

Barber & Staver: Remaining Silent On Abortion Is Just Like Staying Silent During The Holocaust

Likening legal abortion once again to the Nazi Holocaust, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver and Matt Barber said on the most recent "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast that those who remain silent on the issue today are no different than those who remained silent while the Nazis murdered millions of Jews, warning that they will be judged accordingly by history.

"This is our modern day holocaust," said Staver, before going on to assert that those who do not speak out in opposition to abortion are standing on the wrong side of history.

Barber then expanded on that point, saying there is "an exact comparison" between the two and declaring that "posterity will view those who stood in silence or who tacitly accepted this abortion holocaust just as history views those who silently stood by and allowed the Nazis to murder millions of Jews":

Lonegan: It's 'Weird' Cory Booker Won't Say If He's Gay; 'I Personally Like Being A Guy'

Today, the Washington Post published a piece on Corey Booker, the Democratic candidate for the US Senate from New Jersey, in which Booker acknowledged that the fact that he is not married has lead to speculation that he is gay.

Booker wouldn't confirm anything, but stated that such speculation is perfectly fine with him and, in fact, said "some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, 'So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.'"

Booker's Republican opponent, Steve Lonegan, was asked about Booker's response by Newsmax's Steve Malzberg this afternoon, and said he didn't know if Booker is gay but thought it was "weird" that he was unwilling to answer the question, speculating that maybe "it helps get him the gay vote by acting ambiguous."

But Lonegan was sure of one thing: Steve Lonegan is a real man because "as a guy, I personally like being a guy" and he is certainly not one of those sorts who goes in for things like manicures and pedicures like Cory Booker does!

"It was described as his peculiar fetish," Lonegan said. "I have a more peculiar fetish: I like a good Scotch and a cigar, that's my fetish. But we'll just compare the two":

Glenn Beck Isn't Going To Stop Saying Something Just Because It Is False

Last week we noted that Glenn Beck had started promoting a new conspiracy claiming that a racist, anti-gay black nationalist Department of Homeland Security employee named Ayo Kimathi was responsible for the shortage of ammunition in this country, because he was buying it all up for the government in preparation for a coming race war.

Beck insisted that Kimathi was "in charge of buying all of the bullets for the Department of Homeland Security," which, as we pointed out, was totally false.

Kimathi's actual position was as a "Small Business Specialist" within the ICE Office of Acquisition Management, meaning that it was his job to "provide advice to small business owners on individual procurement opportunities and how to do business" with the various government agencies.

As the SPLC, which first broke the story, reported, "among his duties at DHS and ICE is speaking at various vendor events. He’s one of the agency’s public faces. It is his job to advocate for small business owners 'white, black, historically disadvantaged, disabled veteran-owned, everybody.'"

Helping small businesses navigate the government procurement system is, obviously, not quite the same thing as being "in charge of buying all of the bullets for the Department of Homeland Security" ... so, of course, Beck repeated the same false claim on his radio broadcast today.

"At the Department of Homeland Security," Beck said, "he is the acquisitions officer for Immigration and Customs Enforcement who is in charge of buying all the weapons and ammunition for the government ... This is the guy who's in charge of buying it all":

It wasn't true when Beck said it last week and it was just as untrue when he repeated it today - and it will continue to be untrue every time Beck repeats it in the future, which he will most certainly will do because he simply does not care that it is false, so long as it feeds his narrative and helps him promote his agenda.

Fischer: Liberals Can't Be Wise Because They Don't Fear The Lord

Bryan Fischer began his radio program yesterday with a discussion of Psalm 111; in particular, the verse that states that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding."

"That is the basic divide in our culture," Fischer claimed, asserting that liberals cannot be wise or have any understanding because they do not fear the Lord.

"We talk everyday for two hours about how clueless people on the left are. Why is that? Because they do not have the fear of the Lord.  You cannot be clued in, you can't be discerning, you can't be perceptive, you can't be wise unless you begin with a holy reverence for God":

Justice Ginsburg Speaks Out Against Citizens United

With little over a month before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC, a money in politics case that some are calling the next Citizens United, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke out this week on the damage that Citizens United v. FEC continues to cause to our democracy. 

Discussing the infamous 2010 Supreme Court decision that paved the way for unlimited corporate spending to influence our elections, Ginsburg told Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News:

“You take the limits off and say, ‘You can spend as much as you want,’ and people will spend and spend,” she said. “People are appalled abroad. It’s a question I get asked all the time: Why should elections be determined by how much a candidate can spend and why should candidates spend most of their time these days raising the funds so that they will prevail in the next election?”

It’s a great question, and one with a clear answer – they shouldn’t.

Justice Ginsburg is not alone in her concerns about the damage done to our democratic system.  A 2012 Brennan Center national poll found that nearly seven in ten respondents agree that “new rules that let corporations, unions and people give unlimited money to Super PACs will lead to corruption.” 

And this is not the first time Justice Ginsburg has publicly commented on the Citizens United decision. Early last year, Justices Ginsburg and Breyer released a statement in conjunction with a Court order in a campaign finance case out of Montana stating that:

Montana’s experience, and experience elsewhere since this Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm’n, make it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”  A petition for certiorari will give the Court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.

It is also not the first time she has commented on the Roberts Court more generally.  In an interview with the New York Times this weekend, Ginsburg called the current court “one of the most activist courts in history.”

In October, the high court will hear arguments in a case considering similar issues, McCutcheon v. FEC, for which People For the American Way Foundation submitted an amicus brief.  In this case, the Supreme Court could take the damage of Citizens United one step further by eliminating the caps on how much money an individual can contribute – in total – in each two-year campaign cycle.  It other words, the court would be striking down another protection against wealthy special interests overpowering our political system, allowing even more big money to flow into our elections.

Just what our democracy needs.  PFAW Foundation Executive Vice President Marge Baker noted last month:

Protecting the legitimacy of our political system, and restoring the faith of the American people in that system, is vital to a working democracy.

And as Justice Ginsburg highlighted this week, elections shouldn’t be determined by who has the biggest wallet.
 

PFAW Foundation

Fischer: Russia's Anti-Gay Law Is Exactly The Sort Of 'Public Policy That We've Been Advocating'

On his radio broadcast this afternoon, Bryan Fischer delivered a vigorous defense of Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" law, saying that, if anything, it doesn't go far enough.

Fischer commended Russia for trying to reestablish their Christian heritage and for understanding that "homosexual behavior is a moral evil."  Fischer lamented that, for now the law only bans the spread of homosexual propaganda to teenagers, but remains hopeful that Russia will eventually realize that homosexuality is a "moral evil" for everyone.

Even still, Fischer said, "at least they're ahead of us on recognizing that it's a moral evil to propagandize this lifestyle among teenagers."

Fischer then wondered by so few in the anti-gay activists have been willing to stand up in defense of Russia's bigoted law, especially since "this is public policy that we've been advocating and here is a nation in the world that is actually putting it into practice":

John Lewis and a new generation of movement leaders

"And I say to all the young people, you must get out there and push and pull and make America what America should be for all of us . . . I'm not tired. I'm not weary. I'm not prepared to sit down and give up. I am ready to fight and continue to fight. And you must fight."
PFAW Foundation

McCullough: Obama Is A Racist And A 'Flaming Hypocrite'

Despite the fact that authorities are saying that race did not play a role in the shooting death of Christopher Lane or the beating that killed World War II vet Delbert Belton, commentators on the right are absolutely convinced that it did.

As such, "AFA Today" broadcast host Kevin McCullough blasted President Obama on Friday for failing to speak out about either crime, which apparently proves that Obama is racist and a "flaming hypocrite":

Please Mr. Obama, explain to me your silence, explain to me your deafness to the cries of people that genuinely hurt.

What's that?  All we have is crickets?

Oh, because you're a flaming hypocrite. I get it.  Okay.  As long as we understand the game as it's being played. As long as we understand that it's okay for you to be a racist in the White House while accusing everyone else to be a racist.  As long as we understand that that's the way it works; now we know.  Now we've been made fully aware and now we can operate in a world where truth exists because we now see for ourselves that you're nothing but a flaming, hypocritical opportunist that seeks to prop up your own advantage via created outrage and anger when it doesn't exist and totally willing to be a total flaming hypocrite when it does exist on the other hand.

The fact that you're a two-bit circus squaller [sic] about this and that you're out there and your willing to chase that ambulance when you think there's a buck in it for you and you're not willing to take a stand, take a morally righteous stand to defend people that are shot down or beaten to death flashlights simply because they happen to be race that is different than the people attacked them.

Mr. President, I'm grateful; you're helping me today, Mr. President, you're helping me understand that racism comes in all forms and colors and that you yourself exhibit it as much as anybody else does, especially those that you've accused of it in the past.

Marching On Washington, Again

This weekend People For the American Way Foundation turned out en masse for the 50th Anniversary March on Washington.

Some could remember the original march well.  Some had driven across the country to be there on Saturday.  

Our reasons for being there were as diverse as the range of topics covered by the speakers. Some wanted to see an end to Stand Your Ground laws; others spoke in support of immigration reform, LGBT equality, or voting rights. 

But everyone stood in solidarity with those who marched half a century ago, while calling attention to the ongoing need to fight for social, economic, and racial justice.  Everyone raised their voices in support of justice for all

We saw Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) – just 23 years old when he spoke at the original March on Washington – take the podium again, speaking passionately about the need to protect the right to vote.  He called it “precious…almost sacred.”  Lewis recalled:

I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote.…I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us.

Members of the PFAW Foundation family also took the podium.  Young People For (YP4) alum Sophia Campos spoke in personal terms about the need for change in immigration policies, saying: 

I grew up in this country undocumented. My family is immigrant… A million people have been deported in the last five years….It’s our black and brown bodies in these cells that are being detained.

Another YP4 alum, Dream Defenders leader Phil Agnew, also spoke at the rally, calling on young people to take the lead in the progressive movement.  Young people, he said, are “here today to join in a conversation that will shake the very foundations of this capital.” 

And Rev. Charles Williams, an active member of PFAW Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council, was named by the event organizers as being part of the next generation of leaders.

We came to honor those who marched 50 years ago, but also to call attention to the critical justice issues facing our country today.  As PFAW Foundation President Michael Keegan wrote last week:

That’s what this week is about: making sure that we, as a country, continue to strive to fulfill the promise of justice for all -- the American Way.

PFAW Foundation

Filling In For Glenn Beck, David Barton Lies About Common Core

As we noted several months ago, Glenn Beck has transformed his The Blaze network into a public policy organization dedicated to fighting the implementation of Common Core because he is convinced that it is going to lead to a 1984-like learning environment where students are strapped to computers and monitored at all times.

Leading this effort has been none other than David Barton, who, after hosting another gathering of anti-Common Core actvists and state legislators at Beck's headquarters, sat in for Beck on his television program on Friday for a hour-long program dedicated to Common Core and who, during his opening monologue, played this misleadingly edited video of an educator supposedly saying that, under Common Core, it doesn't matter if students think that 3 x 4 = 11 so long as they can explain how they arrived at that answer (skip ahead to 7:30 mark):

Following the clip, Barton said it showed that education under Common Core is not about "getting right answers," which is fundamentally false, and Barton knows it.

As we pointed out earlier this month, this video has been misleadingly edited, since the speaker is cut off after supposedly saying that getting the wrong answer is not important when the full video shows that she then goes on to say that any student who answered that 3 x 4 = 11 would be wrong and would be corrected.

In fact, Beck's own The Blaze network debunked the very clip that Barton played on the program last Monday:

The truncated clip features August’s statement: “But even under the new Common Core if even if they said 3 x 4 was 11, if they were able to explain their reasoning and explain how they came up with their answer, really in words and oral explanations and they showed it in a picture but they just got the final number wrong? We’re more focusing on the how and the why.”

An audience member then asks whether students will be corrected for giving the wrong answer.

“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. We want our students to compute correctly. But the emphasis is really moving more towards the explanation, and the how, and the why, and can I really talk through the procedures that I went through to get this answer — and not just knowing that it’s 12, but why is it 12? How do I know that?” August replies.

A fuller video of the forum, however, reveals that August said first students should certainly know that 3 x 4 equals 12.

This is now the third time that we have found something debunked by The Blaze being repeated on Beck's shows as statement of fact.

Maybe the people at The Blaze who help put together Beck's programming ought to start reading their own reporting.

How Glenn Beck's Conspiracy Theories Are Born

As we have noted before, one of the great ironies of Glenn Beck's The Blaze network is that it operates under the slogan "Truth Lives Here" when Beck himself is one of the most recklessly dishonest media voices in operation today.

And nothing better demonstrates this fact than his current obsession with the story, broken by the SPLC, of Ayo Kimathi, a Department of Homeland Security employee who runs a racist, anti-gay black nationalist website on the side where he openly proclaims that "we are going to have to kill a lot of whites."

That story is outrageous enough on its own, but for Beck it is just further proof of his theory that the Obama administration is seeking to foment a race war, and he is now tying this story to the on-going right-wing conspiracy claiming that the government is stockpiling weapons and ammunition for use against American citizens.

Despite the fact that both the original SPLC piece and Beck's own article report that "Kimathi is a small business specialist" with DHS, on his radio show today Beck baselessly proclaimed that Kimathi "was in charge of buying all of the bullets for the Department of Homeland Security."

"So the shortage of bullets that we have," Beck stated, "may very well be caused by this guy. The reason you don't have bullets is because this guy ... is in charge of all of the procurement of the bullets and the weapons for the Department of Homeland Security."

Kimathi's actual job, contrary to Beck's false claim, is as a "Small Business Specialist, who serves as a point of contact for private firms seeking agency-specific acquisition information" ... but Beck doesn't care about the truth at all, and instead is using this as further evidence that "our administration is in bed with very bad people":

Just keep this in mind the next time Beck starts to wonder why everyone calls him a crazed conspiracy theorist.

50 Years Later, John Lewis Returns to Podium as Sole Surviving March Speaker

Recently The New York Times reminded us that Representative John Lewis is still marching on Washington, 50 years later.

On August 28, 1963, as the 23-year-old chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lewis took the podium on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Tomorrow, as the 73-year-old representative from Georgia's 5th congressional district, he will commemorate the 50th anniversary of those remarks.

Representative Lewis returns to the podium as the sole surviving speaker from the March on Washington.

A half century ago he was the torchbearer for youth leadership in the Civil Rights Movement. The message he delivered still hits home for youth leaders like those of Young People For.

Here at YP4 we know that “justice for all” is an expansive idea that includes pushing for and protecting civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT equality and more. It means rededicating ourselves to the promise of vibrant, safe, democratic communities. It means fighting for a country where our voices are not drowned out by massive corporate spending to influence our elections. It means standing up to groups like ALEC which push extreme laws threatening the wellbeing of our communities, such as the “Stand Your Ground” laws that YP4 alumni like [Phillip] Agnew – leader of the Dream Defenders in Florida – have been fighting to change.

In other words, we know that “justice for all” is a promise that has yet to be realized.

Join us tomorrow as Representative Lewis and others once again bring the struggle for jobs, justice, and freedom back to the nation's capital. Check out MLKDREAM50 for information on the full week of events.

PFAW Foundation

Don't Let The Right Wing Co-opt King

We must not allow this historic anniversary to become a moment that perpetuates an ersatz, sanitized, co-opted version of King and the movement he led.
PFAW Foundation

Don't Let The Right Wing Co-opt King

Washington, D.C. is gearing up for events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I will be among thousands of Americans gathering on the national mall this weekend to remember those marchers and to rededicate ourselves to their demand that the country make good on its promises of equality and opportunity for all.

The fact that politicians from across the political spectrum want to associate themselves with King is a big change. Fifty years ago, he was reviled as a Communist sympathizer trying to undermine what some said was God's design that the races live separately. March organizer Bayard Rustin was denounced by segregationist Strom Thurmond on the floor of the Senate for being a communist, draft-dodger, and homosexual. This year, Rustin will be posthumously awarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

So it is a reflection of social progress that so many conservative Republican lawmakers and right-wing leaders try to wrap themselves in the moral authority of the civil rights movement. But it's also a reflection of cynical political posturing.

Right-wing leaders are fond of rhetorically embracing King's dream for an America in which children "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Unfortunately, they often use the quote to justify their opposition to any policies that are designed to address the ongoing effects of racial discrimination.

Right-wing politicians shouldn't be allowed to get away with pretending to share King's moral high ground simply because legally mandated segregation is now unthinkable in America. There was so much more to King's - and the movement's - vision.

King was an advocate for government intervention in the economy to address poverty and economic inequality. He was a supporter of Planned Parenthood and women's right to choose.

He endorsed the 1960s Supreme Court decisions on church-state separation that Religious Right leaders denounce as attacks on faith and freedom. One of his most valued advisors, Bayard Rustin, was an openly gay man at a time when it was far more personally and politically dangerous to be so.

How many Republican leaders today will embrace that Martin Luther King?

It is true that a strong majority of congressional Republicans voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act. It is true that many of our civil rights advances were made with bipartisan support. But today many Republican leaders at the state level are pushing unfair voting laws that could keep millions of people away from the polls. And many not only cheered the Supreme Court's recent decision gutting the Voting Rights Act but moved immediately to put new voting restrictions in place.

Today's Republican leaders are also captive to the anti-government ideology fomented by the Tea Party and its right-wing backers. Let's remember that the official name of the event we are commemorating is the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Among the marchers' demands were a higher minimum wage and a "massive federal program" to provide unemployed people with decent paying jobs. Sounds like socialism!

Today's right-wing leaders say it's wrong to even pay attention to economic inequality. To Rick Santorum, just using the term "middle class" is Marxist.

We must not allow this historic anniversary to become a moment that perpetuates an ersatz, sanitized, co-opted version of King and the movement he led. Let's instead reclaim King's broadly progressive vision - for ourselves and for the history books.

Cross-posted from The Huffington Post.

Fischer: 90% Of Americans Think Gay Sex Is Disgusting And Repulsive

Earlier this month, a recording was leaked in which San Antonio Councilwoman Elisa Chan could be heard railing against a proposed anti-discrimination ordinance and gays in general.  There has understandably been an outcry over her comments, such as her statement that homosexuals are "disgusting," but Chan is refusing to apologize ... and, for that, she is being praised by Bryan Fischer.

Fischer said on his radio program yesterday that Chan has nothing for which she needs to apologize because everything she said are "things that anybody who is thinking rightly and clearly about homosexuality would believe."

"I would guarantee you," Fischer said, "90% of the American people, if they would stop and think about what actually happens in homosexual sexual behavior, they would find it disgusting":

Still Marching for Justice, Health, and Black Women’s Lives

Guest post from Reverend Dr. Geraldine Pemberton, Assistant Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia and member of PFAW Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council. 

As a 74 year old retired nurse, I can remember the original March on Washington well.  I wasn’t able to be there in person that day, but many of my family members were.  After marching with Dr. King and more than 200,000 other Americans, they were inspired to come home and fight for justice.

I myself am of the Jim Crow era.  The injustices that Dr. King described that day as the “chains of discrimination” were injustices I faced first-hand.  My father, who was born in North Carolina, would take my family down from Philadelphia for visits to his home state.  He would try to prepare us as much as he could, but it was always overwhelming.  I remember that once we passed the Mason-Dixon line, we couldn’t use most bathrooms.  We would have to use outhouses behind gas stations instead.

Today I can see how far we’ve come, but also how much further we still have to go.  I have spent much of my life fighting the injustices that drove the first March on Washington, especially health disparities facing women of color.  Justice, I have learned, is a very big umbrella that must include equality for women.  A just society has to be one that values women’s voices and fights back against health disparities that threaten black women’s lives.

Twenty years after that march, I went to another major event that inspired people from all over to drop what they were doing and travel across the country – the 1983 Spelman College conference on women’s health, which birthed what is now the Black Women’s Health Imperative.  My friend and I saw a flyer for it but didn’t think we could afford to go.  We maxed out our credit cards and drove down to Atlanta. Thousands of women showed up for the conference – young women, older women, women with children, women who had hitchhiked there.  We just showed up - we had to be there.

That conference unfolded into a lifetime of work in pursuit of improving the health outcomes of African American women.  As a former Director of Nursing and a current Health Committee Director for an alliance of Black clergy in Philadelphia, I know that women of color need improved access to care and greater provider sensitivity.  Women need more information on the diseases that affect us most.  And as a 74 year old Philadelphian, I’m still fighting for women’s health and justice.  This year I am organizing health forums at churches throughout the city to give women more information about diseases, healthy living, and greater access to health services though the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act commonly known as “Obamacare.”

The first health forum is this weekend – fifty years after the March on Washington.  In so many ways, we are still marching.

PFAW Foundation
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