SDG Feb. Reduced Inequalities & Black History Month
This month Sustainable Development Goal the Local Peace Economy is working on is reducing inequalities within our local communities. We also celebrate Black History Month and International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This year’s 2021 Black History theme: “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” explores the African diaspora, and the spread of Black families across the United States.” By studying the history of Black families in America we can learn how the non-violent democratic struggle for equality can bring change and make us hopeful for the future.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. The central role played by black families reducing inequality in American history can be experience in Martin Luther King’s book: Why We Can’t Wait. The book tells the story of the 1963 successful non-violent Campaign of Black families in Birmingham Alabama against segregation, Bull Connor’s police dogs, firehoses and white citizens that eventually led the municipal government to change the city’s discrimination laws. The language he uses to tell the story of the struggle is a fire that smolders in the soul: “Summer came, and the weather was beautiful. But the climate, the social climate of American life, erupted into lighting flashes, trembled with the thunder and vibrated to the relentless, growing rain of protest come to life through the land. Explosively, America’s third revolution-the Negro revolution-had begun…Propelled by a burning need for justice, lifting itself with sudden swiftness, moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger, created an uprising so powerful that it shook a huge society from its comfortable base.”
Martin concludes the book realistically and hopefully:” The signing of the agreement was the climax of a long struggle for justice, freedom and human dignity. The millennium still had not come, but Birmingham had made a fresh, bold step toward equality. Today Birmingham is by no means miraculously desegregated. There is still resistance and violence. . . I like to believe that Birmingham will one day become a model in southern race relations. I like to believe that the negative extremes of Birmingham’s past will resolve into the positive and utopian extreme of her future; that the sins of a dark yesterday will be redeemed in the achievements of a bright tomorrow. I have this hope because, once on a summer day, a dream came true. The City of Birmingham discovered a conscience.”
Black history demonstrates that persistence and hard work can address inequalities and bring people from segregation to the office of the President in a person’s lifetime. Yet today’s Black families still struggle against persistence racism and inequality. With a new, yet continuing campaign that demands the necessitate structural changes in society toward the equality of an inclusive society. This movement, as always, has generated a new phase of white resistance to halt inclusive democracy. The election is evidence of how far the white nationalist are willing to go as white supremist lead by the President tried to over throw an election in order to make American white again, with help of the rightwing white minded lawmakers and with the support of Trump’s 74 million republican base. History repeats itself as secessionists try to destroy the union after an election to keep inequalities of race and economics. Cries of Black Lives Matter are not the cause of white resistance, they are consequences of it. The election also gave the union hope because more people voted for equality than against it and was strong enough to resist another attempted overthrow of America’s elective democracy.
What can you do?
- Reducing inequality requires transformative change that begins in a person heart. A person has to let hate and prejudice go and begin to see all people as citizens helping each other have a equal chance in life.
- Treat people as you wish to be treated
- Join with citizens groups that are working to reduce inequality in the community
- Sign petitions that demand equality now
- Speak out in nonviolent actions against systemic inequalities,
- Email your elected representative to support inclusive legislation
- Support governmental policies that eliminate discriminatory laws, policies and practices and that promote inclusive social and economic growth that can ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities.
- Celebrate as people join together to help each other to have a better life.
America has struggled with inequality from its very beginning when African families were torn apart and brought to America as slaves and more than 400 years later their descendants are still working to eradicate systemic racism and its inherent inequalities. The Local Peace Economy works with all families to reduce inequalities. Inequalities based on income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity continue to persist in local American communities and across the world. Inequality threatens long term social and economic development, harms poverty reduction and destroys people’s sense of fulfilment and self-worth. This, in turn, can breed crime, disease and environmental degradation. We cannot achieve sustainable development and make the planet better for all if people are excluded from the chance for a better life. And despite some positive signs, inequality is growing for more than 70 per cent of the global population, exacerbating the risks of divisions and hampering economic and social development. COVID-19 is hitting the most vulnerable people the hardest, and those same groups are often experiencing increased discrimination
Can we achieve equality for everyone? Yes we can, if people continue to work to ensure a life of dignity for all. Black history is proof that progress can be made. The Vice President of the US is a women of mixed race, that is cause for celebration.
Day of Women and Girls in Science.
In 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare February 11th as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This effort to help break down barriers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields for women is focused on empowering young girls as they accesses information and pursue opportunities within the sciences.
According to UNESCO, as of 2016 only around 30% of all female students select STEM-related fields in higher education, and as of 2021 less than 30% of researchers worldwide are women.
Addressing the gender gap in STEM is crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by leaving no girl behind in this vital journey and ensuring that we are addressing gender stereotypes that limit women to join STEM careers.
International days are celebrated as occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and reinforce achievements of humanity.
What can you do for Girls and Women in Science?
- Always tell young girls that they can achieve anything if they work for it, even math and science, avoid passing on math anxiety
- Check to see if your child’s school provides professional education to teachers — addressing implicit and systemic biases and to raise awareness about girls’ math abilities and ensure boys and girls are held to the same standards.
- Enroll your girl in after-school and summer STEM opportunities for girls.
- Inform your child of higher education and career opportunities, role models and mentoring programs with women and women of color in STEM for girls in your community.
- At work recruit female employees and work to retain and promote women throughout their careers with strong advancement pipelines and continued professional development and leadership training.
- Promote welcoming work environments, including providing pay equity; flexibility; strong family and medical leave policies; inclusion and anti-bias training; mentorship, networking and ally-ship opportunities; and strong anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.
- Break your Biases: “I still remember asking my high school guidance teacher to take a second year of algebra instead of a fifth year of Latin. She looked down her nose at me and sneered, ‘What lady would take mathematics instead of Latin?’ Nancy Grace Roman, “Mother of the Hubble Telescope”
In order to end inequality greater collective efforts of citizens worldwide are needed to reduce inequalities in race, income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity. The election showed that America has 81 million citizens strong and growing that want to work together to rid America of systemic inequalities and believe things can change for the better for all people.
The struggle for equality requires a rededication by all people that believe in inclusive democracy to the long struggle ahead to rid America and the world of inequalities. We have a ways to go as MLK would say to get to the promise land and “I might not get there with you, yet we as a people will get to the promise land.”
So join with Codepink as we work together to reduce inequalities in our local community.
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