“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.”
So were the immortal words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as he envisioned the dream of our nation. Dr. King’s words stirred passion and fear but also thought and vision. As we remember the life and legacy of Dr. King on Monday, let us be encouraged by the positive strides our nation has made to end discrimination of all types among our citizens. These positive accomplishments bring our nation closer to the dream Dr. King spoke of. However, let us honestly realize that each of us still has much to do so that collectively, one day our nation will achieve the dream.
Each of us must strive to see the good in others and respect the contributions, of whatever nature or degree, each person can make to better our society. We need to respect the opinion of others and honestly and openly debate our personal differences, without demeaning the debate by invoking discrimination. We need not be afraid of someone because they are different. These objectives could not be stated without realizing the difficulty each of us face in trying to accomplish them in our personal lives. Dr. King never said achieving the dream would be easy.
At the base of human existence is the desire and need to help others and band together at time of tragedy. We have witnessed kindness and strength many times recently and throughout our history as we, as a nation, have endured tragedy through the products of Mother Nature’s fury, or the violence of forces wanting to destroy our nation, or the lone individual who commits a senseless violent act against the innocent. Each time we act with empathy and dignity, we move closer to achieving the dream. We are all capable of acting this way despite the absence of a tragic event. We can build on these actions and strive to accomplish more on an individual basis for our own good and the good of our nation. For as Dr. King also said, “We may have come over on different ships, but we are all in the same boat now.”