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Your e-mails: The road ahead

CNN.com readers on the civil rights struggles of the 21st century

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Coretta Scott King and her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956

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(CNN) -- As the nation pays its last respects to Coretta Scott King, the widow of slain civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., CNN.com asked readers what they think will be the civil rights struggles of the 21st century. Here are some of those responses:

The United States of America still has major racial issues that are not being addressed. Racism is alive and well not just in the South but all over this country (and the world for that matter). Lest we forget the aftermath of Katrina. People of color continue to be depicted in a negative fashion in every imaginable form, unless, of course, it's Oprah or Tiger. I'm very afraid for the African American people for without a leader, without a voice, we have and will continue to be treated as third-class citizens of this great country. This country that was built on the very backs of our ancestors -- for without slavery this country would not be the economic super powerhouse it is today. The major civil rights challenges are the same as they were 40 years ago, education, housing, jobs, health care, quality of life, and leadership for ALL PEOPLE, not just for those living within a certain ZIP code.
Carol Ann Allen, Los Angeles, California

Gay rights is our new civil rights issue of this century.
Kathy, Clarksville, Tennessee

The major civil rights challenges of the 21st century will mostly involve preventing the erosion of the rights gained during the 20th century. There are those people who believe that equal protection under the law is sure and swift enough that we no longer need Civil Rights Acts, Voting Rights Acts, or other legal recourse to protect the rights of minorities. Nothing could be further from the truth. The passage of the Voter ID law in Georgia is just one recent example of what can happen if we are not vigilant. At this point, we can achieve equal rights and opportunities for as long as we remain vigilant. America, and the rest of the world for that matter, is not off the hook from years of perpetrating systemic, endemic racism and prejudice.
Terence Allen, Atlanta, Georgia

Equal opportunities granted in higher education, careers, salaries once we can obtain those things the moral and the standards of living will aid in balancing out our communities to make them stronger.
T. Windham, Chicago, Illinois

The major civil rights challenge will be shrinking individual rights including freedom of speech.
Mike Houck, Annapolis, Maryland

The mission of the civil rights movement in this age is to protect and reserve the constitutional rights and liberties granted to all American citizens since the inception of this nation. Our government's most imperative duty is to assure Americans that these rights will never be compromised, although we live in a higher state of national and international security. Our voices should never be silent or petitions be halted whenever a breach of these promises occur. The must be a balance between the safety and security of our homeland and the security of our civil rights and equality
Deon Robinson, Miami, Florida

In my opinion, the greatest challenges for civil rights in the future are the lack of great leaders (other than celebrities) and the attitude of the 20- to 40-year-olds, which seems to be: "The government owes me something because I'm African American."
Donna T., Lawrenceville, Georgia

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