Martin Luther King…Fifty Years Later

Martin Luther King Fifty Years LaterIn the United States, mainstream media tackles racial and ethnic issues in a way that does little more than drive ratings, garner clicks and increase revenue. When the killing of Tamir Rice was captured on video and went viral, in my naivete, I expected awareness to lead to a tidal wave of change . So much for sunlight being the best disinfectant.

Every few years “Race” gets listed as a topic that Americans say they care about. It briefly takes center stage in mainstream media, only to be relegated back to the lesser news when public interest wanes. And it’s not just the mainstream media that gives it short shrift – in fact, the media is simply a reflection of the greater society.

Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered a powerful speech entitled, “A Time to Break Silence”. That speech marked a departure for King. In it, he draws parallels between domestic policy and foreign policy – between racism and war. Many argue that it was his most powerful message. Delivered on April 4, 1967 from the pulpit of the Riverside Church in New York City, not far from where I grew up in the Bronx, Dr. King addressed the notion of American exceptionalism and called for an end to the Vietnam War. Exactly one year later, he was assassinated.

In the 50 years since King’s groundbreaking speech, little has changed. The core elements of the crisis he addressed 50 years ago are still with us—racism, materialism (hypercapitalism), and militarism. Many of us have come to understand the connectedness of all of these “isms.” But until we’re able to mobilize a movement, is it rational for us to expect to see a material change in the next 50 years?

This April 4, Justice Not Jails and the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity will be honoring the fiftieth anniversary of King’s call to action with a renewed call to work for justice in these times of heightened uncertainty.

There will be a full program but one of the core pieces of the event is a panel discussion that addresses the connection between the racial and ethnic problems in the United States and our role on the international stage.  We’ll also address steps that can be taken to move further down the road towards true equality.

We invite you to attend this event, “Acting in the Spirit of Dr. King.”

Sharon Kyle

What: A Community-Wide Justice Revival and Rally
When: Tuesday, April 4th at 7 pm.
Where: Macedonia Baptist Church, 1755 East 114th Street, Los Angeles
RSVP: Here
Organizers: Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity • Justice Not Jails

Cosponsors: LA Progressive • Progressive Christians Uniting • AME Ministerial Alliance • Amity Foundation • Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries • Bishop R. Guy Erwin, PhD, ELCA Southwest California Synod • Californians for a Responsible Budget • Council on American-Islamic Relations • Drug Policy Alliance • LA Council of Religious Leaders • Rev. R. Guy Erwin, Ph.D. Bishop, Southwest California Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America • Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism • South Coast Interfaith Council • Southern California Nevada Conference of the United Church of Christ

About Sharon Kyle

Sharon Kyle, J.D. is the Publisher of the LA Progressive which she co-founded with her husband Dick Price. Ms. Kyle is an adjunct professor of law at Peoples College in Los Angeles. She sits on the executive board of the ACLU of Southern California and is on the editorial board of the


  1. Thank you for the article. I find it depressing that we may be on the verge of reversing what little progress this country has made since 1968. With the current administration and Congress and maybe the Supreme Court we may be seeing the reversal or repealing of the Civil Rights Law, school desegregation, housing rights etc. We’ve already seen the Voting Rights Act attacked. That is not the America I thought we would have today not when we lived through the 50’s, and 60’s. The only console I have is knowing that we can’t stop fighting and that we people are coming together once again to fight for a better world.