"Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of mens skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact".
- Lyndon B. Johnson
When we think of the "Civil Rights Movement", we think of that period in time that existed between 1955 and 1968. However the "movement" has been in existence since 1896 shortly after the signing of the emancipation and today continues to be a vehicle for justice. Throughout our history the movement has been a hybrid of organizations and individuals seeking the civil liberties that come with American citizenship.
Civil rights are defined as "The rights of all people to freedom and equality". Freedom and equality for all, not some people. Not just men, but both men and women. Not just White, but White, Black, Hispanic, Asian and others. Continuous efforts have been made to combat advertent and inadvertent practices that alienate any group of people from active participation in the pursuit of the "American Dream".
The Black Economic Council (BEC) continues its endeavor to bring merit to the economic policies and practices designed to ensure that equal opportunity exist. The days of sitting at the lunch counters or boycotting buses, though crucial to the movement are over. The challenge that lies ahead requires the same preseverance our forefathers and mothers displayed as they challenged the injustices of suffrage and Jim Crow.
Reginald Lewis, the first Black to build a billion dollar empire wrote an autobiography which says it all in it's title "Why should white guys have all the fun"? His inspirational story lets us know the opportunity to achieve great things in this country is attainable.
Today we have in the oval office a Black President, a challenge most Blacks thought impossible in their lifetime. It has been proclaimed, the opportunity is there for the taking; Frederick Douglass once said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will".
As the BEC prepares to honor and celebrate the historic signing of the Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago in 2013, we ask that you take this time to reflect. The fight continues as the path to economic emancipation is laid before us and the BEC continues to ensure that path remains evident.