The kids are home for Martin Luther King, Jr., day, and for the first time since high school, I decided to review the text of his "I Have a Dream" speech.
In 2013, 50 years will have passed since 250,000 Americans went to Washington to protest the injustices to black folks under the Jim Crow laws. And having just read Katherine Stockett's The Help (link to my review), I was curious as to how many of his dreams had come true.
Starting with the easiest, the "Whites Only" designations have pretty much disappeared. So that's one. (Sure, there are still exclusive clubs in certain pockets of society, but I think that has as much to do with elitism as racism.)
With the election of President Barak Obama, I'd like to think this dream was fulfilled: "We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote."
Although, unfortunately the election exposed an angry fist of racism still lurking in our country.
As a resident of south Alabama with two little white girls in public schools, I can attest that this dream has come true: "I have a dream that one day . . . right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."
And I'd like to believe we've all achieved this dream: "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."
Lord knows, I'd like to be judged that way.
It seems we've made much progress. Yet, while I type this, I can't help but wonder if we will ever completely rise above the past, and forget the anger and fear that cause us to mistrust each other.
I'd like to say yes. But again, as a resident of south Alabama who periodically drives past the giant Confederate flag on I-10 west of Mobile or the one on I-65 north of Montgomery, I know there's still work to be done.
And if you judged me based on how many close black friends I have, you'd say I still had work to do.
But I do try to determine people's characters based on their actions and the words they say. It's how I raise my children, and I hope it's how everyone strives to make their decisions.
"I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; 'and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.'
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together..."
Powerful words. It's good to pause and reflect at least one day a year. Until Thursday~ <3