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Morning Cup of Equity: Tomorrow is Today

Regina Cannon reflects on race, racism, equity, and current events on “Morning Cup of Equity”

June 26, 2020

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Regina Cannon, Host: [00:06] I’m Regina Cannon. Thank you for joining me for your morning cup of equity.

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[00:10] On April 4th, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech at Riverside Church in New York entitled, “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” In that speech, he said these words: “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.”

[00:43] So now friends, as we stand at this inflection point in our history, will we continue to act with a fierce urgency to dismantle the systemic racism that pervades all of our systems and institutions, creating barriers to safe affordable housing, to thriving neighborhoods, to quality education, to livable wage employment? I wonder as we venture out of our COVID-19 lairs to join our essential brothers and sisters at work, will our priorities shift? Will our sense of urgency be tempered by returning to the comfort of our old, normal lives? We must individually and collectively refuse to allow this to happen. We cannot work toward justice and equity on a part-time basis. Our work, our play, our planning, and our votes must move us toward a more fair and just place.

[1:40] As Angela Davis once said, “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world, and you have to do it all the time.”

[1:51] So don’t let up on the pressure for systemic change. It will be easy to go back to the sidelines when we run into resistance. And be very clear: we will feel the backlash from those who benefit most from the racist status quo. And, it will come from seemingly surprising places. From the same people, the same companies that splatter their websites with Black Lives Matter. They will soon tire of being called out and having demands put upon them to make real and sustainable change. They will push back with a fierce urgency to protect their power.

[2:34] Frederick Douglas said, 163 years ago, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” He said that “if there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are those who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”

[3:06] So friends, don’t lose your sense of urgency. Don’t be afraid of the fight ahead of us. It will be worth it for all of us.

[3:14] I leave you with the last words of that speech that Dr. King gave in Riverside Church. He said, “Now let us begin. Now let us re-dedicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful, struggle for a new world.” Until next time.

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Access additional Morning Cup of Equity episodes and a podcast series on race equity and homelessness on C4’s “Changing the Conversation.”