With an unemployment rate still at 9.1 percent and some projecting that we will not achieve full employment until 2017, King would probably agree that the jobs crisis is our most pressing national issue. King would also likely be appalled that the burden of unemployment continues to be distributed according to race. Black unemployment is at 16.2 percent, while white unemployment is at 8 percent.
While people throughout the Middle East celebrate a much deserved "Arab Spring," for too many it remains winter in America. The King memorial should remind us that for those out of work, jobs are freedom. It should move us to take collective action to make sure both industry and government do what is necessary to get people back to work and that workers are paid a fair and livable wage. As King wrote in one of his sermons:
The dispossessed of this nation...live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens, but against structures through which the society is refusing to take means which...are at hand...There are millions of...people in this country who have very little, or even nothing, to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, the will do so with a freedom and a power that will be a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life.