It’s been 55 years since the powerful, notable “I Have A Dream” speech by civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. I wasn’t alive at the time, but throughout my childhood years, my elementary and middle schools I had attended allowed students to watch Dr. King’s speech, leading to a discussion afterward.
Unfortunately, when I reached high school, Dr. King no longer was the topic of a class lesson; however, I felt personally compelled to watch his speech on his celebratory day and attend festivities in honor of him. Although I did not live during the Civil Rights Movement and only knew of what I researched and was taught in school, his strong and emotional words of encouragement to bring together a divided nation resonated in my brain as if I were there at Lincoln Memorial watching him speak.
At the 12-minute mark of his speech, Dr. King stopped from looking at his paper of his prepared text and prompted his full attention to the audience while everyone shouted praise as he began his “I Have A Dream” passage:
“I say to you today, my friends, though, 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, live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
He continued to declare his dreams while everyone continued to worship him. The empathetic effect he had on that audience that day is the same effect he gives people today. That speech not only encouraged people to practice kindness or see past race, but it inspired us to come together as one. Whether you are white, black, Hispanic, or Asian, the dream that he hoped and dreamed for progressively became a reality that he wasn’t able to witness.
In 1964, Dr. King was nominated and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his vision of peace, unity and human dignity. While accepting his award, Dr. King observed the following: “Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”
The agonizing questions that still roam in my head “Are we all at peace?” Will we ever come together like Dr. King envisioned?” Answers still remain uncertain, but I do believe that one day – it may not be today, tomorrow, or in the next 10 years – it will happen, as long as we continue to fight for justice and treat others equally.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for his braveness, boldness and determination to stand for his beliefs and not be afraid of what he would possibly be faced with.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for not only being the voice for the Black community but for fighting for equal opportunity for all people.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who led peaceful, nonviolent protests to demonstrate that fighting for freedom is possible without violent acts.
Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for sharing his dreams to the world that continue to make an impact in today’s society.
Thank you, Dr. King, for that wonderful dream. Oh, how I wish there were more people like you in the world.