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January 16, 2006

And Miles To Go..

Derek Shackelford

Today is a national holiday. It is not just a day off from work, a day to catch the latest sales, or a day just to lounge around our homes.

This holiday commemorates the life of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This day symbolizes a time of action; not just a day of any action, but a day of intentional, purposeful action. The dream of Dr. King should not lay dormant. It is now time to wake up.

For far too long we - as a nation and a people - have fallen asleep. In a real sense we have been rocked and lulled into slumber. We have received Novocain for our pain and band aids for our wounds.

In the year since last we commemorated the life of Dr. King, there have been tragedies, destruction, wars, and disasters. Yet in the midst of this, we can still have hope; we can still dream; and we can still overcome.

We can not only take the words of Dr. King, but we can learn more from his life of service. This day is about service. We can take the time to help somebody, encourage somebody, and elevate somebody.

Dr. King said: "If a man does not stand for something, then they will fall for anything." The latest news of a government using its power to spy on individuals in the name of national security is an abuse of power.

The issue of civil rights and civil liberties has reached a critical point in our nation's history. Judge Samuel Alito has been questioned thoroughly about his stance on these issues and on his voting record which may influence the high court in either direction. Fighting a war based on the premise of weapons that did not exist is troubling. A nation not coming to the rescue and recovery of those who have been beset by tragedy is inexcusable.

One of the greatest orations of all time is Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech." Dr. King addresses the issue of a check returned for insufficient funds. Dr. King spoke boldly and clearly that it was time to declare democracy and justice. Dr. King spoke in 1963. How prophetic and clear do these words ring true even today.

Now IS the time for democracy and justice. This writing is not about placing blame on the government, an administration, or policy makers. We have made great strides since the death of Dr. King, but we should not be satisfied until "righteousness rolls down like water and justice like a mighty stream."

This calling does not fall on our government's shoulders but falls on the shoulders of every man, woman, boy, and girl. Dr. King said he had a dream that this nation would rise up and live out its true meaning. That all people would sit at the table of brotherhood. A big tent where all would be welcome, whether they be black or white, Republican or Democrat, rich or poor.

Dr. King's dream was universal. The question that remains before us today is how far have we come?

Yes, we can say great gains and strides have been made, but we still have rivers to cross, bridges to build, and mountains to climb.

The night of his death Dr. King delivered a message that he has seen the promise land; he says he may not get there with us.

Well, Dr. King in 2006, we still haven't reached the promise land and I may not get there either, but thanks to you I won't stop dreaming.

They say that dreams are for those who are sleeping, so now is the time for us to wake up and make the dream a reality.

Happy Birthday Dr. King!!!

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