The King Who Dared to Dream

martin_luther_king_jr_nywts
The King Who Dared to Dream

Martin Luther King Jr & What He Means to Me

Cut by: Davita Cuttita

“Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

Martin Luther King Jr. was a Black man.

He was born January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia to Reverend Martin Luther King Sr and Alberta Williams King. He died from a gunshot wound on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39 leaving behind his wife, Coretta Scott King and four children; Yolanda, Martin, Dexter and Bernice. If he were still with us, today would be his 80th birthday.

King was a Christian, a preacher, a father, a student, an author, an activist and a leader.

He dared to dream of a world of equality, peace, love and justice. He was well aware of the risks of dreaming so passionately in this small world of hatred and ugliness but pressed on against all odds. What he accomplished was not “magical”, easy or done overnight as many a “history” book or TV show may illustrate. His work took a toll on him. Death threats were sent to his family and by the time he died at 39, his autopsy concluded that he had the heart of a 69 year old–possibly due to all the stress he’d suffered during his 14 years in the Civil Rights movement.

Although he is no longer physically among us, his brave spirit and dream are alive and well within the hearts and just actions of all those who hold them dear; no matter what the colour of their skin.

I was introduced to the teachings of King at the age of 8 in the 3rd grade. Although many of the teachers (including mine at the time) were White, the majority of the students were first generation immigrants of colour. The classroom was our temporary safe haven from the violence, drug-dealing, racial profiling and prostitution in our ghetto and within its walls we were seldom made to feel as though we were obsolete or hopeless as persons because of our skin colour. My childhood is peppered with his booming voice of hope, reminding me that I could be someone and that my rights and dreams as a human being were fought for by many; decades upon decades before I was even born. His booming voice reminding me that it was OK to dream, that it was my birthright to do so.

As I grew older, King’s voice became more than a beacon of hope but rang as a voice of responsibility and accountability. There was more to the dream than just being nice to people who were racially different from me or my peers. I, as a Black person had to rise up and take responsibility for my actions; freedom was not free. I had to stand up and speak out—in some way, shape or form against injustice in the world and refuse, with my full being to believe that the “bank of justice was bankrupt,” despite all the pain, suffering, ugliness, defeat and hate in the world. I had to seize every opportunity now presented to me and make justice manifest for all of humanity; no matter how small the chance was.

Injustice and pain surrounds us, it is all that lies outside of this delusional bubble of photoshopped sensuality, insatiable consumerism and slogans of “bigger is better.”

It is reality.

My home in Jamaica is crippled by war and murder. I have lost loved ones.
Gaza and Hezzbollah are crippled by war and murder.
Haiti and the Congo are crippled by war and murder.
Even in first world nations, we will find pockets of our society that are crippled by war and murder, all day and all night.

Everyday and everywhere there is rape, injustice, segregation, racism, oppression, and unrest.

I cry. I get depressed. I get exhausted.

But I dream, too.

I dream that a day will come when we all can sit down together as equals and destroy this cycle of pain and defeat. I dream a day will come when all of this suffering will finally come to an end.

Why?

Because that King could dream.

We have seen the end of open segregation.
We have seen the end of lynching as “the norm”.
We have seen the first Black President.
We have seen the end of Blacks not being allowed to vote, own property, become educated or even be free.

And we have so much more work to do, so much more to see. This is not enough. Justice does not yet roll over through the land like waters and the numbers of those who suffer increase everyday. Therefore, we cannot be satisfied with these achievements; rather we must use them as tools of encouragement to keep us marching towards peace.

When I remember this is not enough, that more can be done, that racism and injustice are still alive and well; I hear the King’s voice boom again; reminding me to fight. Reminding me that I can do more and be more. Reminding me that I was always capable, strong, beautiful and equal. Reminding me to help others; especially those who cannot help themselves. Reminding me to believe. Reminding me to dream.

Martin Luther King Jr, thank you. Happy Birthday.

“I Have a Dream”



Transcript: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm

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~ by davitacuttita on January 19, 2009.

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