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The Dream of MLK: Do we want it to become a reality?

An expression set in stone, destined to never be pleased with what he sees.
An expression set in stone, destined to never be pleased with what he sees.
J. Wilson

Here we are, 44 years after his passing, having watched and listened again to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. recite his infamous “I Have A Dream” speech as he delivered it in August of 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

The holiday of Martin Luther King Jr. – celebrated by Americans every third Monday of January, was filled with singing, dancing, parades, speeches, volunteerism and prayers.

And again, the holiday has come and gone – and though we take the time each year to honor Dr. King’s memory, what do we have to show for our efforts (over the past two decades) that have brought us closer to realizing his dream?

What do we have today in our possession that directly honors the unwavering commitment and personal sacrifice that Dr. King made in his efforts to create an environment driven by equality, justice and social progress?

Would Dr. King be proud today of our efforts to adopt his impassioned, selfless vision for humanity?

Over the years, laws dealing with segregation and discrimination have been changed; monuments have been erected in honor of people who fought and sacrificed for the cause of civil rights; and more Americans today are able to see, experience and enjoy the benefits of living in a multicultural society.

So why are we as a nation (in the 21st century) still suffering through the detrimental effects of racial hatred and division?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated during his “I Have A Dream” speech that his dream is “deeply” rooted in the American Dream – the dream that is outlined in the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The American Dream is a dream of freedom. The American Dream is a dream of prosperity and success for each American according to his or her ability – regardless of social class and/or circumstances of birth.

We are at a time in the history of our civilization where the American Dream has become more and more difficult to achieve. Our inability as Americans to see eye-to-eye when it comes to our shared issues and our common goals has created a divide in this nation that is the direct result of our failure to work together.

If we continue to resign ourselves (annually) as Americans to celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his holiday without having made any real, tangible progress towards achieving the ideas and principles that he championed, then his dream becomes a wasted expression – and our celebrations are held in vain.

Dr. King’s dream was the direct result of the promises outlined in the American Dream; so understandably for us, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to make Dr. King’s dream a reality without first securing the American Dream.

That is, of course…if we really want it.


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