The Power of Having a Dream
"Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better."--Martin Luther King, Jr.Today many people will reflect on the message of Martin Luther King Jr. Today the world will ponder his "I have a dream" speech and his legacy, and their will be abundant responses to how far we've come and how far we still have to go.
Today, I believe, Martin Luther King Jr. would weep, because in many ways it seems his dream is farther away than it has been in a very long time. I don't have the right words to express this, but others do in more powerful ways such as Chris Lebron in "What, To The Black American, Is Martin Luther King Jr. Day?"
Today, I reflect on my own dream--of a world where the voices of all matter, and we find alternative, non-violent solutions to the challenges that face us.
"I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good."--Martin Luther King, Jr.
Perhaps some will say my dream is a fantasy. But is my dream any more of a fantasy than MLK's? True, he had more power of words and faith than I do. He was a man who lived his life more bravely than I. His are footsteps that are difficult to follow.
But that doesn't invalidate my own dream.
Two years ago, NPR asked people to contribute their own "I Have a Dream" speech, and I wrote one. Follow this link to read my whole dream, but I want to point out one section of what I wrote:
I have a dream of creating a world where . . . safety is more important than guns. . . . love is more important than the sanctity of marriage. . . . healthy food is more important than bottom lines. . . . teachers are more important than politics. . . . fairness, justice and equality are more important than hatred, war, and violence.
Those are still very important aspects of my dream. While some of them seem to be moving towards coming true, most of them have a long way to go. On any given day you can find evidence that these and more issues are not going to be solved soon. Just yesterday I read this article that discusses the rise in female pregnancy related deaths in the U.S. Here was my response when I shared the article:
"I hate the headline for this article because I believe it promotes divisiveness and entrenched views. However can we please stop pretending that these policies are for the health and safety of women and children?"
You might be asking, what does this have to do with my dream? I usually avoid discussion about this particular topic here in the blog, because it is such a complicated issue. But, it is clear from the numbers that laws limiting access to abortion do the most harm to women of color and the poor than to the wealthy and that is the type of social injustice I can not remain silent about. Not if I want to see my dream come true.
"The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."--Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sometimes, though, it all seems so hopeless. Sometimes silence is so much easier. Sometimes it seems useless to dream. So why do we bother dreaming then? When it all seems futile, and things only seem to be getting worse, why bother dreaming for things to become better?
"Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness."--Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is one important reason to keep dreaming and keep believing in the possibility of making change. There is one important reason to keep speaking and not hide behind what is easy. I cannot allow these beautiful girls to grow up in a world where their voices are not valued. I cannot allow them to grow up in a world where people are judged by their race, religion, sexual preference, gender identity, etc. etc. etc. rather than "the content of their character". I cannot do this without at least trying to make a difference and make things better.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."--Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have a dream to make this world a better place, and P.O.W.ER is just one tiny step in the direction I need to go. (With every book sold I will be making contributions to causes that support women and children around the world).
What is your dream? What steps will you take to making that dream come true?