Dr. King is one of my heroes.
“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
I hope Dr. King would understand that our “American Dream” has expanded a bit. While African American Americans and Black people has gained ground in the struggle for equality, there is still quite a ways to go. And the search for equality–or, at the very least, an increase in tolerance and understanding–is now urgent for Muslim, for LGBT, for Latinos and Latinas, for the poor and those born to hopeless circumstances. Even if you don’t necessarily believe that humans are “created” or that God is Almighty….there’s still no reason to believe that the
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
We can’t leave justice to the policymakers and politicians, though; they are too busy trying to one-up each other; claiming “Republican” or “Democrat” issues more important than simple social concerns; wallowing in undeserved power; growing rich through corporate bribes, and so becoming even further disconnected from the people who chose them to be their voice in public.
Justice, equality, and fairness starts with individuals. See the world through someone else’s eyes, volunteer to help the unequal or the disadvantaged in your community, or just smile and say “hello” to someone who is different than you. Small steps lead to long journeys!
The full text of the “I Have a Dream” speech is available from the US National Archives. Grateful that moments like these are preserved for eternity.
The above is only a partial clip. Ironically, the original video/media/performance of the speech is not free. It’s owned by EMI Publishing, and you can buy a copy for $20.