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OSHKOSH, WI, July 31, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The relevance of the citation, authored by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., resonates in today's society as forcefully as it did during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Fifty years have passed since the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. took pause to answer the criticism of his work and his ideas. For those "privileged" citizens of our American society, comprised of that five percent who continue to disproportionately prosper from the laws and policies enacted by politicians whose loyalties remain misguided and misplaced, these words ring hollow. For the remaining "less than privileged" citizens of our American society, the call to justice cited in these words remains beyond our reach for we do not possess either the means or the opportunity required to attain this justice.
As with any valued commodity, justice has become a commodity destined to be traded on an exchange and eventually sold to the highest bidder. Respectfully, I have taken the liberty of including the following excerpt from the "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" to place the cited quotation within its proper context.
"Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial "outside agitator" idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."
And yet, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was not the first man of color to contest the arbitrary and capricious injustices which preceded the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. As early as the 1860s, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce (Nimiputimt) is attributed to having offered the following counsel and wisdom as a means by which the American Indian would be allowed to live in peace with the burgeoning population of American immigrants seeking to escape the injustices from whence they came.
"If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace. Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself, and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty."
As for me as an enrolled tribal member of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, I do not profess to speak on behalf of the Tribe nor do I profess to speak on behalf of the Nations. But I do profess to speak on behalf of myself, my father who preceded me, my father's father who preceded him, my sons, and my son's son; all of whom are enrolled tribal members. In spite of the continuous and unabated injustices inflicted upon my person and First American Engineered Solutions, L.L.C., it remains my cultural and moral obligation to insure that the next Seven Generations of American Indians enjoy the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to which they have been granted under the United States Declaration of Independence as adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. For injustice anywhere continues to be a threat to justice everywhere.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
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Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
Chief Joseph Lincoln Hall Speech, Washington, D.C., January 14, 1879