On Aug. 26, 1963, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. As you know, his powerful oratory laid out a vision of unification, calling for civil and economic rights and an end to racism. And yet, we still have a long way to go before his dream can become a reality.
On Monday, as we celebrated Martin Luther King Day, the Lakota People’s Law Project joined the Indigenous Peoples Movement (IPM) and Warrior Women Project to host an online panel discussion titled “Are We Fulfilling the Dream?” You can find the entire roundtable on our social channels, and we’ve also cut together a shorter video with some highlights for you here.
Watch: IPM’s YoNasDa LoneWolf was joined by Madonna Thunder Hawk of Lakota Law and Warrior Women Project — and a diverse crew of BIPOC thinkers — to discuss racism and civil rights on MLK Day.
As a mixed-race Black and Yamassee woman, I’m proud to work not only for Lakota Law but also for my tribe as its Cultural and Government Liaison. I am also an IPM coalition member, and as such, I’m embedded every day in the movements for Indigenous sovereignty and Black liberation.
Sadly, many in this land are still working overtime to protect and propagate systemic exploitation. Just yesterday, the U.S. Senate met to debate a pair of voting rights bills — the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — which would implement voting protections especially helpful to People of Color. But conservative lawmakers are refusing to support these bills, leading to calls among liberals for filibuster reform so that a simple majority could pass them. Indeed, the filibuster is an antidemocratic institution; at a minimum it should be partially set aside to allow civil rights legislation, such as voting rights bills, to be passed by simple majority.
At this critical moment, we can’t lose more ground in our battle for equity and justice. If we don’t stand for democracy now, we may never have the chance again. If you haven’t yet done so, you can use Lakota Law’s Action Center to write to your senators and tell them to safeguard the future of our democracy by reforming the filibuster and passing both voting rights bills!
Please watch and share our discussion, and take action to create a more inclusive future. We can still fulfill the dream shared by MLK and John Lewis. We can let freedom ring from every mountainside. But we must act as one for the benefit of all.
Shonabish — thank you for standing for justice and equality!
Social Media Coordinator
Lakota People’s Law Project