They saw him from afar, and before he came near to them they conspired against him to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits. Then we will say that a fierce animal has devoured him, and we will see what will become of his dreams.” Genesis 37:18-20 (English Standard Version)
I have a dream today.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, “I Have A Dream” Speech at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963
Today, we commemorated the birthday of Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; this is the Federal holiday whereas Dr. King’s actual birthday was on the 15th. Today, we’ve heard speeches, held community-wide services, had concerts, etc-all promising to renew “The Dream”. This will go on-as it has for years-for a few days, then will quietly vanish from sight until next January
Dr. King would have been 84 today had he lived. Unfortunately, less than five years after the “I Have A Dream” speech he was cut down by an assassin’s bullet in Memphis, Tennessee. As referenced in the above text from Genesis, it appears that The Dream died with the Dreamer. If we look at our current national (and international) situation one would think this. We still have racism in the US, coupled with homophobia, sexism and xenophobia. We have predominately people of color and poor Whites as “cannon fodder” for our wars. We have churches of color standing idly by while the powers that be rip through communities of color. Socio-economic disparities are alive (read “1%”). We’ve exported our problems overseas via wars, outsourcing American jobs, and other ills.
Or is The Dream still alive? Could it be we’ve just forgotten about it-save for a brave minority? In 1963, The Dream was racial equality and brotherhood for all in America. Later, Dr. King would include the poor, ending the war in Vietnam, and the end to our arms race in his dream. Today’s Dreamers are still dreaming for racial (as well as gender) equality, for a cessation of our overreaching military policy, ending our stockpiling of nuclear weapons, economic justice for all, care for the environment, inter-religion dialogue, and world-wide peace and harmony for all.
Sadly, we still have the proverbial, “miles to go”. We cannot stop, give up, or get complacent. More than ever, our nation and our world need to truly realize Dr. King’s dream while we can. For it was Dr. King who warned about America’s downfall if she didn’t change; and alluded to the threat to humanity if we didn’t stop our dangerous involvement with nuclear weapons.
Lets keep working towards the true realization of The Dream while we have the time. Even if it takes miles to go, it will be worth it when our nation and our world are transformed into the “promised land” Dr. King refers to years later before he died.
Then we will truly honor Dr. King’s legacy for generations to come.