To the Editor:
The Wall Street protesters, people of many colors, genders and political persuasions, have been speaking out to our political leaders about the social and economic inequality between the wealthiest one percent and the rest of the population. The protests have sparked similar Occupy protests around the world.
Today we remember another protester, Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke to the consciences of political leaders and many Americans of his time, who then criticized him for his non-violent protests as “unwise and untimely.”
During the extremely difficult and hate-filled times of the civil rights movement, Dr. King wrote in 1963, from the Birmingham jail, “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
Although there are those who have expressed annoyance at the Wall Street protesters, let us not forget the same feelings were violently demonstrated against the disciplined non-violent protesters who sympathized and marched with Dr. King during the civil rights struggle.
Let us enter this new year without vitriol and obstructionism and work toward Dr. King’s vision of a country and world of peace and harmony.
Marie B. Allen
Marie B. Allen of Oak Bluffs is a former president of the Martha’s Vineyard chapter of the NAACP.