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MLK, Zapata, Our Heroes Protested Injustice. It's Time For Us To Stand Up.

Culture & Community By O. DELGADO
MLK, Zapata, Our Heroes Protested Injustice. It's Time For Us To Stand Up.

We're living on our knees while people die with knees on their necks. It's time to stand up.

Martin Luther King Jr and Emiliano Zapata spent their lives fighting for the rights of their people, fighting against injustice. They were protestors, one peaceful, one revolutionary, both heroes. 

Yet, many people, many Latinos, believe that calling out injustice and discrimination makes you “weak,” means you have a “victim mentality.” A “strong” person just works hard, keeps their head down, and doesn’t complain.

But superándonos won't eliminate the prejudice against us.

The more we succeed, the more resentful the racists are, the more they want to put us in our place, put us down.

Being a successful business owner or having a PhD won't "prove" to racists that their stereotypes are wrong, or make them accept you as a valuable member of the community. This is "their" country, and they don't want us in it unless we are quietly cleaning and serving.

Did it matter to the woman violently waving a hammer and yelling, “You Mexicans, get out of my f---ing country,” that the Latina she was threatening was a doctor? Did it matter to the racist who yelled, “Speak English,” and, “Get the f--k out of my country,” that she was verbally assaulting the restaurant manager and a U.S. citizen? No.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an educated, "well-spoken" black man. He spoke out against racism and injustice, protested peacefully...and lost his life for it.

He is one of many, black and white, Asian, Native American, and Latino who have stood up, spoken out, and even sacrificed their lives to help their people not just live better, but just live.

Latinos like Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, and Emiliano Zapata, who started out his career leading campesinos in protest against tyrannical landowners.

Like MLK, he spent his life, and gave his life, fighting for the rights of his people.

Protesting the death of George Floyd, of countless black and brown men and women who have been killed, protesting the treatment of farmworkers, of immigrants, of undocumented people and asylum seekers, children in cages, of people of color, Latino, black, Native American, Asian, does not mean you have a “victim mentality.” Protesting is not for the “weak.”

Protesting is for all of us.

What is weak is "keeping your head down", turning a blind eye, living complacently, on your knees, and NOT speaking out and standing up against injustice.

So, if we’re going to keep sharing that photo of Zapata, proudly quoting "I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees," we better start acting like it.