Martin Luther King Jr. is known for his “I Have a Dream” speech given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. He was the leader for the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, and became a spokesperson for fighting for equality and freedom. He was strong in his beliefs, and pushed for all people to be just as passionate as he was in this fight. Sadly, his vision for this country was not understood and appreciated by all people. He could not see his dream come true, and I am questioning whether or not it has, in fact, been fulfilled in the way Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned it to be.
His yearning for such a society is empowering. It is hard to fathom the thought that people were not willing to see the need for this movement and adaptation to accept people at face value. Martin Luther King Jr. put every ounce of his being in his actions and showed great dedication to people he knew were suffering, yet never knew them by name. It did not matter to him that he had never met these people; he simply knew the less-than-human treatment was wrong, and until all people were free, freedom could not be attained for anyone.
Sacrifice is the ultimate act of dedication a person can show. Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed his own freedom to ensure someone else’s freedom. The possibility of going to jail did not stop his full-steam-ahead efforts, and in time, he found himself behind a set of bars temporarily silencing his impactful voice. It did not matter to him, and while the people who imprisoned him thought being jailed would discourage him, he used this as ammunition to continue the fight to freedom even stronger than before.
I have spent much time reflecting on his words and the power he held behind each word. Listening to his speech and hearing his raw emotion gave me chills. Even after hearing his speech many times before, I appreciate it even more today. Before going on, this seems like an appropriate time to take a moment for you listen and reflect. As you watch, think about what it must have felt like to hear these words on the day as it went “down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”
At the time of these words being spoken, the future was hopeful. The movement held the potential of changing the world’s view of people for the better. I do not think Martin Luther King Jr. ever imagined the fight for freedom lasting this long, but unfortunately it has. Although, the United States is known as being the “land of the free,” the nation has not ended discrimination, accepted diversity, or welcomed lasting change. For these reasons, I cannot confidently proclaim the title of being free.
The context of this speech was set for people of our nation, but it can be stretched to the distant corners of the world where shadows cover people deep in despair. I think if Martin Luther King Jr. was alive today he would be taking his rally worldwide and not stopping until absolute and genuine freedom could be spoken for each and every person.
The concept of freedom for all is monumental. I think we owe it to Martin Luther King Jr. to live out his dream. “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood . . . Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children . . . And as we walk we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.” He had the great intentions of seeing this dream through and through until the end, but because he was not gifted the time to reach the finish line, we must continue the march and fight for freedom for those who have not found the strength yet. It is our obligation to carry this campaign worldwide. We must be advocates for people who have not been awarded the basic rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Rather than holding judgments over people, we should be welcoming them with open arms and ensuring equal opportunities regardless of skin color or ethnic background. Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted our society to fight for others instead of fighting with each other.
Every dream deserves the chance to come true. The faithful efforts Martin Luther King Jr. put towards his dream should be appreciated, and to show such appreciation, we have to come together in all of our differences to reach this movement’s end. Until every person is free from persecution, discrimination, and man-made barriers, freedom does not exist in the capacity it was imagined. Acceptance of all people must be achieved, and equal and important value should be celebrated.
I desperately hope for the day when we can walk hand-in-hand with people of every color and from every corner of this world saying, “Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.”
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2016