It was April Fourth Nineteen-Sixty-Eight
It must’ve been God’s will
that dreamed this man’s fate.
He was standing on a balcony
holding love for everyone
when a bullet exploded
from a high-powered gun.
The impact of the shot
will be felt throughout the land
for the news will travel fast
about the death of this great man.
Lady Luck must not know
of the anxiety she can bring,
nor did she realize the mistake she made
by killing Dr. Martin Luther King.
Dr. King, you were a man with courage
a man with a dream
that the People unite,
that we become a team.
And although you’re not with us
we will fulfill your plan…
For we as a people
will get to the promise land.
– Darryl S.
This poem, written by one of our Creative Arts program participants and included in the Winter 2017 edition of Voices of Fortune, our annual writing and artwork publication, captures the continued power and inspiration that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy holds. Almost 50 years after his death, his fight for racial equality and civil rights continues to spur Americans to advocate for a just society and political system that allows everyone, regardless of background, an equal chance to thrive.
As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and reflect on the Civil Rights Movement and its successes, let’s also acknowledge the work still left to do. The United States criminal justice system continues to disproportionately impact individuals, families, and communities of color. The barriers and blatant discrimination that individuals with justice involvement face upon reentry back into the community further compound this problem. At Fortune, our reentry services and advocacy efforts work to change these realities. In 2017, over 7,000 individuals took part in our programs and are now reaching professional and personal goals. Plus, recent public advocacy successes, such as the impending closure of Rikers Island and the passage of “Raise the Age” legislation in New York State will further improve prospects for those with justice involvement.
Not only today, but every day, we work for a more equitable justice system and provide supportive pathways for those looking for a new beginning after justice involvement. We’re confident Dr. King would be proud.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons