Once again I write you on the Eve of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. A federal holiday which was first observed in 1983. Today I am feeling convicted, liberated, and inspired. Pause with me for a moment as I quote a passage from Dr. King’s 1963 I Have Dream Speech, “But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land”
Dr. King gave this speech 56 years ago at a period when the Negro wasn’t free. 56 years ago when a society had segregated water fountains, schools, workplaces and communities. It was a society that put faith before fear. A society where the negro was still deemed less than human. As I reflect on 56 years ago and flash forward to our current society; I believe in my heart that the Negro is still not free. Let’s be clear its just not the Negro, but others living on the outskirts of our society; those that are poor oppressed and marginalized. We currently live in a society where we have freedom, but still are enslaved.
I believe it is time to truly Reclaim the Dream that Dr. King preached from the Footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial, that scorching August Afternoon. Reclaiming the dream, is not more than saying we achieved, but expressing and realizing we still have work to do. Today we still have school districts that are segregated, we still have folks living in the slums and ghettos of our society with no financial support. In our current society we have children still being taken from their mothers at the border, we even are still having the discussion on marriage equality for our LGBTOQIA + friends and loved ones.
Reclaiming the dream is not a vision, but a lifestyle. Reclaiming the dream requires: boots on the ground, uncomfortable conversations, destroying and at times building friendships & relationships. Reclaiming the dream requires us to go into places that are foreign, chaotic and complex. Reclaiming the dream is reevaluating the preaching and teachings of Dr. King. Reevaluating to see our growth, and even our short comings. Reclaim the dream for every person not based on color, but on character . Reclaim the dream for the one less like you! When we chose to reclaim the dream, we then become drum majors for justice, architects for change, mobilizers for freedom, but more importantly cultivators of Liberation.
As I said in the beginning I am convicted, liberated, and inspired. I am convicted that I have not done all I should do to reclaim the dream, but am trying through my work as a teacher and public official. I am liberated to know that reclaiming the dream has no barriers, it can start right now in your homes, workplaces and communities. I am inspired to know that we have progressed as a society since 1963, but more importantly inspired to know that there are little fragments of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in each and everyone of us.
However, I am ecstatic to know that We Can Reclaim the Dream. I leave you with these words from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” Let’s help others, by RECLAIMING THE DREAM.