Inside the New Generation of Black Activism

Trayvon Martin's death birthed a new call for civil rights, writes Mychal Denzel Smith in The Nation.

Posted: 08/29/2014 11:52 AM EDT

The civil rights movement was commemorated by way of several events last year, including the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington that brought thousands to the nation's capital to recapture the historic moment of Martin Luther King's Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. 

But the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012, and recently Michael Brown's death, has left the newer generations realizing that King's dream has yet to be fulfilled. There is more work that needs to be done.

Black activism is now being led by millennial organizers who are picking up where past generations left off. Groups such as the Dream Defenders, Black Youth Project and others are answering the call to lead the charge in the continued fight for civil rights, writes Mychal Denzel Smith in The Nation.

Smith writes: 

Despite its undeniable impact, the civil-rights movement didn’t solve the issue of racial injustice. The world that young black people have inherited is one rife with race-based disparities. By the age of 23, almost half of the black men in this country have been arrested at least once, 30 percent by the age of 18. The unemployment rate for black 16-to-24-year-olds is around 25 percent. Twelve percent of black girls face out-of-school suspension, a higher rate than for all other girls and most boys. Black women are incarcerated at a rate nearly three times that of white women. While black people make up 14.6 percent of total regular drug users, they are 31.2 percent of those arrested on drug charges and are likely to receive longer sentences. According to a report issued by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, which used police data as well as newspaper reports, in 2012, a black person lost his or her life in an extrajudicial killing at the hands of a police officer, security guard or self-appointed vigilante like George Zimmerman every twenty-eight hours.

Read the full article here


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