By Pastor E.A. Deckard
Special to the NNPA News Wire from the Houston Forward Times
“Now, as a nation, we don’t promise equal outcomes, but we were founded on the idea everybody should have an equal opportunity to succeed. No matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, you can make it. That’s an essential promise of America. Where you start should not determine where you end up” — President Barack Obama
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — President Barack Obama
Forward Thinkers, on November 4, 2008, I imagine that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. threw a celebration party in heaven as the United States of America elected Senator Barack Obama as the nation’s first African American President. Saying over and over again to the angels in heaven, I know I didn’t die for Black people to still be treated like that or even acting like that; Dr. King could finally see a glimpse of the “I Have A Dream” speech become a reality.
It was in 1963 that King said, “I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream—one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, we hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.”
Unfortunately Forward Thinkers, the dream is still far from total manifestation even with a Black man in the White House, Black people are still being mistreated and misrepresented in the arena of justice and equality.
Forward Thinkers, as you may know the original title of Dr. King’s speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was, “Normalcy, Never Again” and not the famous adapted title “I Have A Dream”, therefore; on today I’m going to take a look back at ten of Dr. King’s most famous quotes and break them down using the theme “Status Quo No Mo.”
STATUS QUO NO MO
1.”We are not wrong, we are not wrong in what we are doing. If we are wrong, the Supreme Court of this nation is wrong. If we are wrong, the Constitution of the United States is wrong. And if we are wrong, God Almighty is wrong. If we are wrong, Jesus of Nazareth was merely a utopian dreamer that never came down to Earth. If we are wrong, justice is a lie, love has no meaning. And we are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” At Holt Street Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, 1955
Forward Thinkers, we must continue to strongly believe that we are not wrong to continue to march, fight, and protest until the status quo will remain in place no more. We must hold strong to the truth that love never fails and look deep inside ourselves and release a force of love strong enough to turn the status quo upside down. Forward Thinkers, we must believe without fear because we owe our children’s children a better America.
2.”Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
Forward Thinkers, we can’t afford to sit on the sidelines with all the injustices that are still going on, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Jordan Baker, Tamir Rice, and countless others are suffering from the injustices of the justice system. Dr. King was correct in this statement “Because if we allow the status quo to remain we are certain to eventually experience the same unfortunate fates”. Forward Thinkers, I challenge you to take a look at your children and grandchildren and allow your agape love for them to force you out your comfort zone and push back against the status quo.
3.”The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.” From his 1963 book, Strength to Love
Forward Thinkers, as we observe the systems in place repeatedly failing us as a community, we must not give up but commit to standing up even if it puts us at risk of being knocked down. We must become our brother’s keeper and commit to protecting each other as we fight against the status quo until one day the status quo is no mo.
4.”There are some things so dear, some things so precious, and some things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for. And I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” Speech in Detroit on June 23, 1963
Forward Thinkers, I am often asked why I’m not afraid to fight for the underdog and go against the status quo, but I truly believe Dr. King’s philosophy that until you find sometime worth dying for you will never experience the true meaning of living. Forward Thinkers the bible says Jesus died for us and if we are truly operating as Christians (Christ-like) we must be willing to go all out for what we believe in if we are ever going to bring the status quo to its knees.
5.”When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” Speech at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963
Forward Thinkers we can’t declare “free at last” when the status quo has created a mass incarceration system which targets Black men and women. We can’t declare we are “free at last” when Blacks are leading the nation’s unemployment rates, incarceration rates, and murder rates (esp. among police killings). Forward Thinkers, the status quo is determined to wipe us out so we must be even more determined to unite together and bring end sudden end to the status quo.
Forward Thinkers, the final quote I want to look at is taken from a speech the day before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated.
“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like any man, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” Speech at Bishop Charles Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 3, 1968
Forward Thinkers, I believe I’ll conclude with this, the life and death of Dr. King is truly worth honoring and celebrating but it’s also worth emulating. I pray daily that God will give me the faith and courage to live without the fear of dying and daily release of the spirit of boldness to stand up, speak out against the status quo until one day my children’s children will experience an America where today’s status quo is no mo.
Pastor E. A. Deckard is the Senior Pastor/Founder of the Green House International Church now located, in both Houston, Texas, and the Woodlands, Texas. To contact Pastor Deckard for speaking engagements contact him at email@example.com, follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Periscope @ Pastor E A Deckard or the church website www.ghic.net.