Dreams: What I Believe on the 50th Anniversary of MLK’s Most Famous Speech

“I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Dreams may come and go, but most linger until realized or deferred. So the question for America is will Martin Luther King’s dream be deferred or realized. Right now, in 2013, as people struggle to find work and the gap between economic classes grows it seems that the America’s dream has been put on hold for individual greed and satisfaction.

What profits the man (or woman) who gains the world but loses his/her soul? Well, if you pay attention to the news, social media, and pop culture – those people profit absolutely everything. That’s the economic impact. We feel it at our core though because while many black boys and black girls struggle to get a fair shot at an education in inner city or rural public schools, their white peers are having much more luck in their protected suburban schools. At the same time, so are some of their fellow black peers who live in the “right” zip code.

Do I believe I’m free? More free than my grandmother? Mother? Absolutely. I can drink at any water fountain. I can shop at any mall. I can spend any money I have at any store I wish. Freedom doesn’t always equal fair though. Do I believe I’m treated the same as white men? Absolutely not. Do I believe I’m treated the same as white women? Nope. Without fairness is freedom still relavent? It absolutely is. As the hymn says, “We’ve come along way…a might long way.”

I, like most, am not delusional though and realize we have a long way to go. Most will point to the death of Trayvon Martin as evidence of this, but I will go a step further and say that Barack Obama’s presidency proves this even more so. Elected by the people via the democratic system agreed upon by our forefathers, he has been rendered largely powerless due to Congress’s unwillingness to work with him. Sound familiar? Sound kind of like the black politicians elected during Reconstruction? The deep, systemic hate for the “other” in America is enough to make those who dislike change on Capitol Hill ruin a country.

So on this day, while the first thought goes to the ending of MLK’s most famous speech, I look to another paragraph:

“It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”

I believe in the strength of my own people and that is what fuels my belief that the dream can be realized and not deferred.

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