I had the opportunity to read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream Speech” when I was just five-years-old. I didn’t fully understand the context or content of the speech; but what I did comprehend from his words was that he had great foresight.
His eloquent way of expressing himself while in a leadership role is unmatched and unequivocally has surpassed most leaders in today’s society. We all know a nation divided cannot stand.
We are all reaping the benefits of a visionary, a dreamer, who in the midst of facing personal challenges, continued to make strides hoping that one day all Americans would be included and treated fairly. Many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.
During his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, he said, “The well-off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds, and driven from the mainstream of our societies, because we have allowed them to become invisible.”
As a seven-year-old, I experienced discrimination, segregation and unfair treatment on a quotidian basis at school, which Dr. King fought so hard against, so I didn’t have to relive those dark times. I was not allowed to drink from the same drinking fountains as my peers, or walk in the same public areas on school campus. Imagine being seven-years-old and living in a Jim Crow-esque era.
I’m continuing to see strong similarities to the dark and ugly days of American history, which I read about during Dr. Martin Luther King’s days. The blatant discrimination, the heinous crimes and methods used by police officers towards the African American community’s innocent men and women are beyond despicable and officers are often not held accountable. When will it stop? How many more must die?
In addition, I’ve heard leaders compare their lack of education and reckless behavior to lynching. Lynching is a reprehensible stain on this country. I don’t believe leaders using such insensitive references know the history of the 4,700 times lynching occurred in the United States from 1882 to 1968. Education sounds less ignorant.
I am not Dr. King, President Obama, Nelson Mandela, Elijah Cummings, or any of the renowned figures, who fought and are still fighting for justice and equality. I am a 14-year- old with a dream and a vision of one day becoming a voice for my generation.
With a dream, and not for platitude, I stand write to you all today. I am confident in my competence and believe Dr. King would be proud that I am on the right path, dreaming the impossible.
In closing, I’d like to leave you with a message from Dr. King, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”