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To the Mountaintop, Together

April 6, 2018

 

 

A Friday poem in response to what is happening in Orange County with the homeless population, in conjunction with Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination 50 years ago this past week.  Like Dr. King, I still have hope, and I think if we all keep working towards justice, we will eventually make it there- together.

 


“To the Mountaintop, Together”

 

50 years ago

That’s when preacher

Leader

Man with a moral compass

Dr. Martin Luther King

Was shot and killed for lending his voice

Towards a predominantly African American

sanitation workforce

who were making just above a buck fifty an hour

 

He didn’t march to Memphis

But he went to march

He went to tell everyone

Packed into that church

& across the country tuning into their TVs

That he’s been to the Mountaintop

And that we might not get to the promise land together

That racism and income inequality won’t be solved quickly

That we must still march and nonviolently protest

But we will get there

Eventually

And then

he was murdered

And that was the last idea he left us with

 

Fast forward fifty years

I’m not on a mountaintop

And I don’t need to be for all of us to see

That what’s going on in Orange County is disgusting

Kicking the homeless from the river bottom then community members angrily organizing

To deny a proposition to put up temporary structures in their city

 

Dr. King knew best that

Any kind of inequality is a slow game to play

The oppressor or oppressive structure

Does not simply relinquish power

 

So I understand Irvine, Laguna Niguel and Huntington Beach

You don’t want tent cities popping up and becoming pervasive

Fair enough

But where do you want these people to go?

Where?

Where do you want these people to go?

And if you say it’s not my problem then you’re wrong

Because if you blocked a possible solution

Then you need to come up with another course of action

Anger based pushback and passiveness are no longer suitable

You can’t push back without proposing any possible ways to push forward

 

The old solution of shipping people off to somewhere else

Making it someone else’s problem

Won’t work

 

These are people &

Life is not perfect

 

It is not a crime to be poor

It is not a crime to show no empathy for your community

According to a federal judge, it will not be a crime

To enforce anti-camping ordinances

If there are no possible places to house the homeless

 

Homelessness isn’t simple

His ordinance is.

If you remove people, you need to place them somewhere

Everywhere can’t be off limits

 

In 2018

We are still climbing to the mountaintop

We will get there

We must get there

Dr. King has been there

And now it’s up to us to keep carrying the torch

Speaking out

Speaking up

Speaking against injustice

Marching forward

Refusing to stop climbing

to the mountaintop

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