"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - MLK Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. paid the ultimate sacrifice in his quest for a nation that operates on moral principles and, most importantly, equal rights for all citizens. On April 4, 1968, the civil rights icon was fatally shot by known racist James Earl Ray.
But Ray was too late. Assassinating Dr. King did little to prevent the civil rights movement's momentum. In fact, the tragic killing emboldened Dr. King's message of peace, love and equality. In both life and death, Dr. King's impact was and continues to be ever-present - so much so that when our nation falls into old traps of fear, hate and injustice, he remains a consistent reminder of the nation we can and should be.
In the era of President Donald Trump, where increasing income inequality has been worsened by a reinvigorated racial tension and a toxic political climate, we must honor what Dr. King died for so that his vision lives on.
Our nation's current leadership has shown blatant disregard for integrity, brotherhood and sisterhood. Some of the most influential evangelical faith leaders have forsaken the principals of morality and justice by supporting and not calling out this President and his administration's disrespect for truth, for their almost daily insults against fellow Americans.
As one who sat at the seat of Dr. King, I'm sure if he were here he would take issue with this strange incivility that's afoot in the country. Therefore we as faith leaders will call upon government officials to do some civil searching so that we may save the soul of America from destruction and annihilation.
Here are some areas where we can begin to reclaim our city of San Francisco based upon principles espoused by Dr. King.
Employment: We must assess what we are really doing to provide equal opportunities for African Americans in this town. As a Brookings Institution study revealed last week, 84 percent of white San Franciscans are employed compared to 53 percent of black San Franciscans. This ugly fact proves efforts at City Hall to provide equal opportunity to African Americans have been half-assed.
Education: This wide disparity can be traced back to San Francisco's schools, where predominately African American campuses continue to suffer from inadequate resources and the distracting crime and violence that directly stem from poverty and unemployment. On Tuesday, we will call on the mayor and superintendent to place more emphasis in the coming months on closing the achievement gap and providing real career-training opportunities for unemployed blacks. We will also call upon parents to be partners in both the school system and faith community. We must unite in the spirit of Dr. King to achieve meaningful change to this disparaging system.
Housing: The vastly declined African American population in this city can be directly linked to our inability to achieve stable housing. An example of this issue can be seen at El Bethel Arms Inc & Terrace, a 350-unit senior housing facility that was developed specifically for African Americans. Only 43 African Americans remain in those units. Even more dejecting: The Martin Luther King Apartments on Eddy Street has 211 units, only 75 of which are occupied by African Americans. We are calling for an investigation into why African Americans are not able to get fair opportunities for housing in the city.
Public safety: There has been a violence spike in Ingleside, Bay View and other African American neighborhoods, and that has not been helped in any way by police distrust. A Los Angeles Times article on Monday revealed that instead of changing their practices into a compassionate community policing strategy, some law enforcement officers are deciding simply to turn their heads when they view crimes involving African Americans. While crimes are going up, arrests are plummeting across the state, the newspaper reported. This leaves many African Americans living in our most underserved neighbors as victims. We are calling upon police to be vigilant: not about arrests necessarily, but about the need to repair relations by treating African Americans the same way as their fellow white citizens. Only then can Dr. King's death not be in vain.