GETTYSBURG, Pa. — This fall marks 160 years since President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. We've seen throughout the following decades how the ideals of our forefathers are still not met.
The murder of George Floyd in 2020 put the spotlight on the systemic racism that still exists today. Since then, people have taken to the streets in 'Black Lives Matter' shirts fighting for the rights spoken about by Lincoln, that everyone is created equal.
Rev. Dr. Frank Allen, President of the Greater Harrisburg NAACP, spoke with FOX43's Cyera Williams to give perspective about where we stand as a society and how we can push forward to a better place.
Here is a snippet of their interview:
CYERA: This place [Gettysburg National Cemetery] has such significance to it. From the address to the lessons that were learned, what can we look at today as far as the lessons that are being learned today?
DR. ALLEN: It is and will always be, historically, the most powerful three minutes in our history coming from President Abraham Lincoln to restore the unity of the states.
And in the face of opposition of slave owners and the enslaved, we must always remember, take heed to the reason and the cause that blood was shed on this sacred ground. The bodies, the families, that were lost. President Lincoln was very mindful of that.
CYERA: So you talk about if we don't learn from history, it's bound to repeat.
DR. ALLEN: Yes.
CYERA: What are those steps that people can take in order to do better?
DR ALLEN: In a sense, we have thousands of Haitians, thousands of Cubans that are coming. We have thousands of immigrants [coming across] our southern borders.
They're coming here for a reason, because America is prosperous, has resources and because America has created the American dream and so many outside of America weren't a part of that dream.
Here in America, we sometimes forget the struggles that we've been through, the struggles that we have now, and the struggles that we must go through, and the strength that it's going to take to do that.
People need to understand, that we are better together because diversity is the strength of America. It's been all of us throughout history.
Behind the scenes of FOX43's Black History Keystones
CYERA: What would you identify as the most significant challenges to achieving equality and are there any proposed solutions to that?
DR. ALLEN: It's complex because there are so many variables in American life and in the American dream.
Number one, I learned from a professor many years ago at the University of Arkansas, Dr. Powell, and I'll never forget him. He said everyone wants to eat. So if everyone then wants to eat everyone, then must labor. So there then must be fair labor, equity and equality. There must be fair housing equity and equality.
Stop the redlining in our communities. Stop the progressive impoverishment. in our communities, because if people can't eat, they'll fight. They'll steal, they'll rob, they'll kill just like any other person or any other nation. So we then have to not only propose change, but act in the changes and do the things, make the decisions and the policy changes that will help us the nation grow together because we're better together.
The full interview between FOX43's Cyera and Dr. Allen can be found below:
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