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January 17, 2005

Has The Dream Become Reality?

Derek Shackelford

Today our nation celebrates the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Every passing year the question arises: Is his dream turning into more of a reality or more of a day off from work?

Dr. King's vision not only was predicated on the United States of America, but also on the global world. Yes, we can take a very insightful look at America, but, in order for his dream to be really fulfilled, the global world has to be taken into account.

As we look around we can attest that things have gotten better, but we must be candidly honest and say we have a long way to go.

Yes, there have been changes with regards to open opportunities for African Americans, Latinos, and other people. But also there has been denial and an unsaid closed-door policy which still exists.

Just because it does not say "Whites Only" on the door does not mean that everyone is welcome. Race is still the issue that divides and the one that is not discussed openly.

We do discuss it in our respective circles and at the water cooler, but in an open forum? Not hardly!

Yes, the federal government has two African Americans in prominent cabinet positions and a Hispanic vying for Attorney General. Whether one disagrees with the political affiliation, this is a sign of progress, and one for cautious optimism.

At the same time, the question that requires an answer is how much influence on public policy do they have? War still abounds in our world, and the nation has been split on its justification.

I would remind everyone that Dr. King vehemently opposed the Vietnam War. So, whether the majority may approve or not, Dr. King opposed the war on spiritual principles. The crowd is not always right. This could be discussed later in regards to the Evangelical Christian debate.

Today the King holiday will be celebrated with activities and remembrances. The "I Have A Dream Speech" will be played and those famous lines of "a man should not be judged by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character" will be highlighted.

But has the whole speech really been dissected. Dr. King said "that America has written the Negro a bad check and it has come back 'insufficient funds. '" If we are serious about making Dr. King's dream a reality, let's check on the account.

Dr. King's vision was predicated on something called the Beloved Community in which all people were valued and accepted. In this Beloved Community, Dr. King believed that every human being was to be loved and not just those who were educated, rich, employed, white, or black.

Dreams, for the most part, take place when people are sleeping. However, we must stay awake to make this dream a true reality.

I haven't fallen asleep.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King

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