Can a single week change history?
If so, this past week may long be remembered for the remarkable events that have unfolded.
First, on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that federal civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from job discrimination. Then, on Thursday, a 5-4 majority struck down the Trump administration’s attempts to dismantle the DACA program, allowing some 650,000 undocumented immigrants who came to this country as children to stay here—at least for now.
This, from what is typically regarded as a conservative-majority court.
The greater Harrisburg area has both a large and growing LGBTQ+ community and a large and growing immigrant community. These decisions help protect the ability of both to confidently live, work and thrive here, though it’s now up to Congress to finally pass permanent legislation to ensure the futures of our area’s immigrant “dreamers.”
To cap off this week, today is Juneteenth, the state’s newest holiday, with a day of events planned locally and nationally to celebrate Black history, culture and freedom. Meanwhile, the Black Lives Matter movement continues to protest and press for civil rights, equality and an end to police brutality.
A remarkable week indeed.
A month or so ago, I told a colleague how disappointed I was with my generation—the Gen X/Baby Boomer crowd. When I was young, I attended many protests, thinking that our voices could lead to change. Looking back, however, I felt like we failed to make much progress toward a better, more equitable society.
But now this time has come like a bolt, a renewed era of activism and optimism, led by young people and people of color, but including a broad swath of society across cultures and generations—and now with, of all the unimaginable twists, assists from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Life remains unsettled. There are still plenty of questions, struggles and unknowns, especially as the global pandemic grinds on. But suddenly, the world seems so much more hopeful, so much brighter. For this incredible, history-making week, we can believe again in Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quote: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Lawrance Binda is co-publisher/editor-in-chief of TheBurg.
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