This past August we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech. The March on Washington acted as the backdrop for one of the greatest speeches of all time. The March was an organizational triumph for all involved, and is the template for modern day community organizing.
(Photo Credit: The Minnesota Historical Society)
My father was 23 years old as he watched Martin Luther King Jr. speak these historical words.
“This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning ‘My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!’And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.”
He held my bother on his shoulders, that day at the National Mall. Listening to the preacher from Alabama. My father’s future as a community organizer was set in stone that day in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I’m a little older than my dad was that day and although we’ve progressed there are new fights we face as a nation.
Fights like ours.
Toxic chemical reform is nearly four decades in the making, and the time for reform is now. We can’t keep waiting.
The fight for common sense limits on toxic chemicals is urgent. Decades worth of scientific studies show that chemicals we’re exposed to everyday from our homes, products, where we work and live – are ending up in our bodies. Nearly every pregnant women in the United States has several toxic chemicals in her blood stream, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.
In addition, African American and Hispanic children face different and more severe threats from toxic chemical pollution than their white counterparts. The most dramatic rise in asthma from 2001 to 2009 was in African American children, with a nearly 50% increase in cases. Similarly, communities that are heavily polluted or located near manufacturing facilities are more likely to face high levels of pollution in the water, air and soil. Many of these neighborhoods are low-income communities of color.
So as we approach Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I hope that everyone in the Safer Chemicals movement renews their commitment to this fight. It is a fight for families, the environment, workers, communities and our future.
As we step into 2014, we walk with a movement larger and stronger than before.
There are many, like myself, who were not able to witness the life of this great leader, but we no doubt benefit from the legacy he left. A legacy that makes it possible for all Americans to stand up for what we believe in.
2014 will be the year of toxic chemical reform and with your help we will make progress.
Show your commitment to the Safer Chemicals movement by asking your friends to join our community today. All they need to do is join our mailing list – we don’t send spam, just the most up to date information and actions ridding our lives of on toxic chemicals.