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Protest Plus Policy equals Progress!

Last week I received a huge honor, the National Urban League’s “Living Legend” award. The following week, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, and this weekend, we commemorated the shooting death of Michael Brown a year later.

All three events reminded me that right never goes out of style. There was a time when people thought organizations like the National Urban League were no longer needed or no longer relevant.

But as the old people used to say, “Keep waking up!” (The kids have adapted that to “Stay woke.”)

Young people today are experiencing things they used to just read about in the history books. Take a look at current headlines and you can’t tell whether it’s 1915, 1955 or 2015.  This means The National Urban League and the NAACP are as relevant or more relevant than they’ve ever been.

If Urban League founder Whitney M. Young were still alive, he would be just as busy as he ever was. His efforts to bring integration to all segments of our society were valiant. But integration cannot equal complacency. Most of the problems in our major cities stem from the combination of poor education and bad policing.

Black police officers constantly say to me, ‘All cops are not bad, Tom!’

No, they aren’t. But if you’re a good cop ignoring, covering for or worse covering UP, for a bad cop, you’re just as bad.

Nothing would have ever gotten done if good people didn’t stand up against bad people no matter what the repercussions would be.

Good cops have to push out the bad cops or the system will remain the same.

We still need the National Urban League, NAACP, National Action Network, Rainbow PUSH, Black Lives Matter and all who are not afraid to put skin in the game.

We can only make progress when we have plan of action. It’s not only about protests, it’s about policy, too. We have a big job to do and we can’t do it alone. Let’s support these organizations with our voices AND our dollars. We need it now more than ever.

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