GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new generation of leaders rallied in Washington D.C. for the March on Washington, raising their voices to demand justice and equality for all.
One of them was a Black business owner from Grand Rapids, who said he wants to help create a better future for his sons.
“We have not received the equal treatment,” said Jermale Eddie, owner of Malamiah Juice Bar, a Black-owned business in downtown Grand Rapids. “We have not received the freedom that we were promised — what we have received is freedom that is conditional.”
Eddie said he is in the nation’s capital representing his three Black sons.
“Their lives matter,” Eddie said.
Eddie’s thoughts are reminiscent of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which was delivered 57 years ago.
“It was a dream he had, and that dream still hasn’t come to fruition,” said George Bayard III, executive director of the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.
Historians, like Bayard III, admit America has come a long way in the fight for equality. But they look at young people, like King’s only granddaughter, to lead the way to change.
“We must not forget the sit-ins movement,” said Yolanda King. “We must not forget the Freedom Riders.”
King’s speech was a nod to the past Eddie will never forget, and the images of unity in D.C. are ones he will always remember.
“There’s a smile in their eyes, a twinkling in their eyes that there’s unity,” said Eddie.