Today marked a very important anniversary for me and for many other Americans I’m sure. Today was the 50th Anniversary of the march on Washington and of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. While I was only a child then, and not there, his words and the message of that day still resound a strong beat that thump in my heart to this day.
Every time I watch the speech (which I make a point to do when the anniversary comes up) it always brings up and overwhelming feelings of hope. And that justice can prevail if enough people want it. His words and mesmerizing voice, and the camera panning out in the crowd of people of black and white people all standing side by side, knowing they all believed in the same thing, brings me comfort that the seeds of change can grow tall.
We all know that many went a long way to get there, and many had suffered hardships, but many kept the belief that they could, as a peaceful and powerful group, start wheels in motion for the rights that should have already been everyone’s.
Those wheels have been moving for 50 years now and we all have seen many changes. As President Obama said today, to diminish those changes would be a discredit to those who marched then. Of course there are changes! A black president made the speech today! That never would have been remotely possible 50 years ago.
But now equity must be possible for everyone, not just blacks. As the President said today, we fight a hard battle. Poverty keeps many segregated. The economy is an enemy now. Everyone is entitled to work and a proper education. Black, whites, Latinos, Asian and all that come to this Nation to make a better life.
All that feel pangs of prejudice and are discriminated against now deserve better. The handicapped, the gay community and any group that lies on the outside of mainstream America. We all are entitled to the same things. We deserve joy, enough to eat, clothing, shelter, medical care, a future. And we need to find it peacefully, not with violence.
So I look back with tears of gratitude and solidarity and look forward knowing in my heart that dreams can become reality. This is the legacy that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and all that marched 50 years ago gave to me.