I would be remiss if I had ended Aug. 28 without acknowledging it was the 57th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King.
I took a moment to honor his memory and re-read it. As I read it, I thought of where America was in 1963, and I couldn’t help but draw parallels to 2020.
For a moment, I wondered if we’ve really made progress at all in a post-George Floyd world and Jacob Blake moment.
For a moment I thought of the voting deserts and the Confederate statues and the lack of access to health care and affordable housing. I shuddered to think of what Martin Luther King would think of this moment – whether he would have felt his life’s work was reflected in this moment.
Then I continued to read. I continued to read this masterful piece of art. This manifesto of the American Promise. His blueprint. His inspiration. His Dream.
Then I remembered the large crowds of diverse people gathering together to receive a call to action to remain silent no more in the face of injustice. I see the anguish in a diverse politic of people hurting. I drive by suburban homes draped in banners declaring that my life matters.
I can’t say we have fully recognized his dream. But I can say I see little black girls and little white girls working in a coordinated manner to ensure the American Dream is a reality for us all. I can say I’ve seen Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics standing arm in arm fighting for the cause of justice. Just as MLK said, when that day comes, we will be able to say we are free at last. Free because we can see past the bonds of separation and realize that justice denied for one is justice denied for all, free because our ability to see the humanity in each other is stronger than the spirit of separation.
Even as I watch these protests in the street, I see hope in the realization of his dream, because the crowds reflect America and not just those denied justice.
I was born in 1968. The same year, MLK was assassinated. In a way, I’ve always visualized that as meaning I am the child of his dream. As his spirit left the world, mine entered. With that realization, I’ve always understood the purpose of my life. His “I Have a Dream Speech” is a great reminder that our purpose is to ensure that the American Dream is obtainable for all.
Delia Parker-Mims is a candidate for Denton County Commissioner 3. Learn more about her at votedeliaparkermims.com.