Of all the days to hold President Obama’s inauguration, it happened to fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That day was a monumental day for our community as we celebrated two of our most notable leaders in history and their shared dream for a country of fiscal equality. And now as Black History month is ending and Sequestration is about to begin, it is imperative that we make their dreams a reality.
In Pennsylvania, devastating automatic cuts to critical programs are slated to take effect on March 1. On the chopping block is $13 million from the Head Start program, almost 4,000 rental housing vouchers will be eliminated and many more cuts that affect the poor will take place. These programs are vital to our African-American community, and cuts to them would disproportionately affect us. Unemployment benefits, for example, are crucial for our community’s survival as our unemployment rates are double that of our Caucasian counterparts. This is in direct contrast of the vision that both Dr. King and President Obama had for this country.
On Dec. 8, 1963, just four months after Dr. King’s legendary “I Have A Dream” speech, he gave another profound address at Western Michigan University where he said, “I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few.”