Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Robert F. Kennedy laments King's murder and the 'mindless menace of violence'

Kerry Kennedy  the daughter of former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was shot to death in June 1968, two months after Rev. Martin Luther King's assassination wrote in the Cleveland Plain Dealer this week:

The front page of the April 5, 1968 Plain Dealer after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated reports Sen. Robert F. Kennedy would eulogize King in Cleveland.
Robert F. Kennedy minced no words in Cleveland: "There is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night," my father said. "This is the violence of institutions - indifference, inaction, and decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books, and homes without heat in the winter. This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man amongst other men."
My father's "Mindless Menace of Violence" speech in Cleveland laid responsibility for reform at the feet of all Americans. It called not only for a rethinking of state policy, but also for a moral "cleansing" to remove the "sickness" of racism and prejudice "from our souls."
Nearly 50 years later, Robert F. Kennedy's words remain a powerful summation of what ails our society.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 187,000 people were incarcerated in state and federal prisons when King visited Ohio in 1968. Fifty years later, more than 2 million people are incarcerated on any given day in the United States. Disproportionately those of color, including children, they sit in jail cells awaiting trial - many simply because they can't afford bail or a simple fine.
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1 comment:

Brittany said...

It is sad to see how things are still so disproportionate in our society. Hopefully things will start to make a change for the better in the near future.

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