If you have never read, or listened to, the full Martin Luther King Jrs iconic speech, then stop reading this and go do it. It is profound in a way that shakes me to my core. I want to share with you the part that strikes me and stands out in my heart as a guidepost as I raise my children in this world that isn’t quite there yet…
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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.
I have a dream today.”
We are still facing difficulties in our nation, we are still arguing about what the American dream really entails. We still have a land of bias – both implicit and overt. We still judge others by the way they look. We still have massive disparities between people of different: race, ethnicity, income, age, religion, etc. The facts are out there, this post is not to bog you down with statistics; I am happy to do so if you’d like. I too dream of a day where our world is transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I too dream of a day where my children are not judged by the color of their skin…but by the content of their character.
Preach Dr. King, Preach. I wish that he could know the impact of his words.
Today my 4 year old asked why she didn’t have school. “It’s a holiday” I said. “What holiday” she asked. And in that moment I shed tears. I looked down at my beautiful brown-skinned daughter and it hit me all over again, that she will not be afforded the same opportunities as I was, simply because of the color of her skin. Stop reading and educate yourself if you don’t believe that statement. “Well babe, a long time ago, brown skinned people and white skinned people weren’t allowed to hang out. And that was really dumb wasn’t it? It makes me really sad to think about that. Brown skinned people and white skinned people had to stay separated. And a man named Martin Luther King Jr gave a big speech about how he thought we should all be friends. Some people didn’t like that, so they killed him. So today we celebrate how smart he was” She quickly added “Like Jesus?”. “Yes baby, like Jesus”.
In that moment I shed more tears. It hit me that while trans-racial adoption started and was legal in 1948, it was only legal for white people to adopt black kids, not the other way around. In the time of his speech in 1963, I would not (as an unmarried white woman) been able to adopt my beautiful babies (for other injustices, which I am confident Mr. King would have been against as well).
So here I sit, after having reflected on this all day, shedding a few more tears about the fact that our world is broken.
I urge you to get to know people that are different than you. Get to know your neighbors. Bridge the gaps…love is really the only way through the mess we are in.