The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For most Americans, the Civil Rights movement has been the touchstone for dynamic, passionate, organized protests that inspire the nation to take a hard look at its moral decay and begin to change. The movement's genius was in being able to simultaneously connect the mistreatment of Black individuals, to injustice toward Black people as a group, to the shame of a nation.
The sustained protests we are witnessing in these last months of 2014 feel like the long awaited next installment along the "arc of the moral universe." As hearts cry out for lives callously lost, young people determinedly remind everyone that #blacklivesmatter. Marchers chant "I can't breathe," and instantly link a specific, unjust killing to the oppression being suffered in isolated, vulnerable communities of color all across the country. And these young activists are demanding justice and redress of grievances from a nation that, despite civil rights gains, has continued to allow racial bias to thwart the aspirations and stunt the trajectories of countless Black and Latino youth.
Change is coming. The naysayers can neither turn back the clock nor deter the march toward equity. Given the nation's demographic transformation (by the end of this decade the majority of children under 18 in the United States will be of color), the gains being sought by the latest conclave of heroic Americans will accrue not just to them, but to the nation as a whole. As people of color succeed, so does the nation.