Sometimes I wonder what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. must think when he sees the way things have progressed in America since his untimely passing. I don’t think he’d be quite pleased. Neither would his wife, Coretta, Malcolm X, or Rosa Parks.
Their dream has been deferred. There is no other explanation for our current state of affairs. On the day set aside to honor the man who gave his life for the equality of the human race, we, his legacy are more divided than ever before; a mockery of the price paid for the liberties we take for granted on a daily basis.
Many in my generation are indifferent, to the point where older generations are embarrassed to claim us. No one wants to work for anything, because we have never really had to fight for anything. Since birth, we’ve had rights that our grandparents died trying to attain. For this reason, the battles fought on our behalf are, in a sense, losing their relevance. It is this lack of reverence that will be our downfall. I understand the need to be young, and live the lives that we have always dreamed of, but if we forget the sacrifices made for us to have the things that we do, we will be doomed to repeat those same struggles.
Dr. King’s I Have A Dream is one of the most celebrated speeches of all time. But have you honestly taken time to truly listen or read what that dream entails? That speech was delivered in 1963, but today, in 2011, it still has yet to be realized. Of course, we’ve made progress, but they are simply baby steps in a marathon. Some might argue that the election of President Barack Obama was the realization for the dream, but even that incredible feat was marred with the ills of racism. The question I beg today: is it even possible for us to see beyond color, age, sex and orientation?
There is so much hate that sometimes, I earnestly believe that we have forgotten what it truly means to love. The struggle for tolerance will endure until we can come embrace the things that make us different, but even more importantly, realize the things that unite us, because the latter are greater in number.
Many of us have reduced this holiday to another day off of work or school, but my challenge to you today, is to simply do your part in reinvigorating the dream that Dr. King presented decades ago. Children, like sponges, soak up everything they see. If those of us who understand the importance of tolerance take just a few moments to encourage those coming up behind us to love each other, we can make an indelible mark on the journey to peace. We may not be able to heal all of the hate in the world, but we can start to change our culture to one of understanding and love, if we diligently work toward that goal as a body. So what are you doing to honor the legacy?