Prof. Smita Narula authors blog post with Rev. Jesse Jackson “A Dream Deferred: The Right to Food in America “
October 30, 2013

This year our nation commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, giving us all occasion to reflect on his civil rights aspirations and the extent to which they have been fulfilled. But the persistence of hunger in America today brings to mind Dr. King’s other dream — that of ending poverty and realizing the full spectrum of human rights, including the right to food.

Dr. King understood that social justice cannot be achieved without economic justice. In March 1965 he declared: “Let us march on poverty until no American parent has to skip a meal so that their children may eat.” In the months before his assassination, Dr. King spearheaded nationwide efforts to launch a multiracial Poor People’s Campaign. “We are coming to Washington,” he said. “We are coming to demand that the government address itself to the problem of poverty.”

Although he did not live to see the Campaign, those of us who believed in his dream carried it forward. In May 1968 thousands of people occupied the National Mall and demanded economic justice in the form of fair wages, decent housing, quality health care and education, and access to adequate food. Nearly fifty years later, this dream remains deferred for far too many Americans. Most starkly, we continue to treat access to food as a privilege, instead of as a fundamental human right.

Read more of the post here.


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