The 50th Anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s iconic “I Have A Dream” Speech is upon us. On Wednesday, August 28th 2013, America will pause to remember the legacy left by one of the most powerful and influential men in our country’s history.
50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a broken nation about an America that he envisioned, where all people could live together as one. As a visionary, he saw an America where the son of the slave and the son of the slave owner could sit together as equals. As a man of God, he reminded a nation of its Biblical mandate to love our neighbor just as we love ourselves, no matter if our neighbor is Black or White, Jew or Gentile. As a political figure, he believed in the vision that the Founding Fathers set for America when they wrote into the Declaration of Independence that, “all men are created equal.” And on August 28th, 1963, He challenged both White and Black Americans alike to live up to the promises of our nation. I believe, in that soul-stirring speech delivered 50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. called all Black Americans to realize their full potential by actively pursuing their right to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness.
By living up to our full potential and reaching our goals, we are telling the world that the limits to what we can achieve are no longer determined by what other people think we can do, but are limited only by what we think of ourselves. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream implores all Americans to step out of the shadow cast by America’s dark past, and to boldly demand the creation of a brighter future—a future that we are still building even 50 years later.
In the coming week, let us all examine ourselves and determine if we are actively living up to Martin Luther King’s dream. Are you working to create a brighter future for America, for your community, for your family, for yourself?
Or…are you still stuck in the shadows?
Shara Stewart is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She is a long-time member of West Angeles Church, and a contributing writer/blogger for the West Angeles WebTeam.