I stand before you as a moral being ... and as a moral being I feel that I owe it to the suffering slave and the deluded master, to my country and to the world, to do all that I can to overturn a system of complicated crimes, built upon the broken hearts and the prostrate bodies of my countrymen in chains and cemented by the blood, sweat, and tears of my sisters in bonds.
~ Angelina Grimké ~
Abolitionist and feminist (1805-1879)
I watched a movie tonight called Black and White. Based in Australia in the late 50s-early 60s, an aboriginal man is convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a little girl. The story follows his trial and shows how justice is not done for people of color, the underprivileged--basically, anyone who is not a white male of authority.
The prime minister commuted his death sentence--not because it was the right thing to do, but for political expediency. Max (the "half-cast" aboriginal) spent fourteen years in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit. The real Max makes a cameo at the end of the film: "Some people still think I'm guilty. Some think I'm not."
We have made some progress. Not enough. The disadvantaged are still...disadvantaged. Those who are not of the "ruling class"--and make no mistake, we do have a class system--often aren't adequately heard in their quest for justice. Not just in the courts, but in jobs and relationships and systems of all kinds.
Moral beings, we are. Aren't we?