Dr. King's dream closer in reach, but still not complete
January 24, 2011
- observation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday
- I think he would be able to recognize the incredible progress we have made
- I am struck by the more low profile happenings that I believe prove our nation's true growth
The observation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday Jan. 17 gave us all an opportunity to see how far America has come in realizing the dream he spoke of to the nation during his "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Monument in Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 1963.
During his speech, King said, "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 quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood."
From that moment, we as a nation have been challenged to prove that we as a people can grow past the mental constrains that we shackled ourselves with in the past.
No one can know what King would have felt about American society today; however, in my opinion, I think he would be able to recognize the incredible progress we have made, while still holding us to task for what we have yet to achieve.
While the election of President Barack Obama may stand as the most symbolic proof of American progress, in looking around my everyday life, I am struck by the more low profile happenings that I believe prove our nation's true growth.
In today's America, there are no water fountains where I am forbidden to drink.
There are no seats where I cannot sit; there are no schools where I cannot go because of the color of my skin.
It is not dangerous for me to have friends of different races, religions or creeds. I don't fear dogs or fire hoses; I don't fear the Klu Klux Klan or burning crosses.
For other minority groups that King advocated for, such as women, there is recognition and protection of rights and freedoms.
From what I see, the daily interaction of Americans is the realization of the dream of people who could only imagine integrated workplaces, interracial friendships and multicultural families.
It is the dream of those who fought in our nation's armed forces for freedoms they themselves did not have.
It is the incorporation of King's dream into the American dream.
During his speech that day, King said, "I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'"
Although we can't predict the exact date that we will fulfill the challenge that King set forth, what is possible is to know that we are moving closer to meeting it.
Through our words and actions, we can - and are - forging an America where we let freedom "ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city."