History has provided us with many heroes and sheroes that have fought hard to change the trajectory of how humanity is treated. Recently we lost Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He spent much of his life promoting the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. Another Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., also promoted the power of forgiveness and the need for civil rights for all humankind. Many of us dream of a better world, not just for ourselves, for everyone, especially our children and grandchildren. As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King, the question I ask is, would his dream of yesterday be the same dream for today? I believe it would.
In Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, he calls upon African Americans to ‘cash the check’ that was written to all Americans by the country’s founding fathers. He went on to share that the promises of the Declaration of Independence should guarantee Black people (and all people) the same rights, which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Why are these basic humankind rights still being fought for and challenged today? How can we change the tide in which our country is currently riding? How do we stop so much of the hate that is permeating our society? We must not give up on dreaming that our world can be a better place for everyone.
Dr. King became the leader of the nonviolent Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s. Although there were other leaders that also worked hard for freedom for Black people such as A. Philip Randolph, Ralph Abernathy, and Bayard Rustin, however, Dr. King was the right man at the right time to lead the movement. Although he was viewed as the leader, it took a team, a community to help make his dream a reality. If we still hope and dream for a better world it will take all of us to make it a reality. It will mean, Black, white, brown, yellow, red, and all people to reach a consensus of coming together to stop the violence, hatred and racism towards those that may be different.
As we continue to acknowledge the work of Dr. King and his dream, let us not forget those that also worked tirelessly for the cause and gave their lives in pursuit of the dream that is the birthright of all Americans. We must also help support those who continue to bring equality for all. The question we must ask ourselves, are we doing our part to make a difference? We all can contribute to making the world a better place. Just like during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s supporters all played their role, some were on the frontlines, some donated money, some opened their homes and cooked homemade meals, and some prayed. We all have something we can give.
The famous line from Dr. King’s speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” I believe in the depths of my heart this dream is still achievable, but it will take all of us. Yes, Dr. King’s dream is still good today, and because of it we will continue to persevere, persist, and promise to never give up on the dream.
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on.
Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.