Prejudice and malice remains

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 1, 2003

September 25th marked the official 40th anniversary of the legendary &uot;I Had a Dream&uot; speech delivered by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The anniversary marked a milestone in the lives of many that either participated in the events of the day or who remember the occasion.

I didn’t want this time to pass by without recognizing and honoring a great man who made many contributions to mankind – great and small. The speech that has been repeated time after time over the past 40 years has been sparked a civil rights movement in that day and is an inspiring message even today.

There are many that spoke negatively about Dr. King – who questioned the reason for even a national holiday. But the issue is not the holiday, instead the issue is the reason for the day and the measure of man he was. Dr. King fought for the rights of people – not just black people but for all people who were unjustly accused or denied their right to something.

For a man who during his adult life fought for the ending of violence, poverty, world hunger, apartheid and terrorism through creative non-violence, it’s ironic to look back and see that a war is still going on – a war with the races, with the nations, and with all people who have not yet figured out how we can all get along.

There have been some changes over the years, but there is still a war raging and some people and their attitudes have not changed.

Our country is in turmoil pitting the political parties against one another. A war is going on and lives are being lost daily. Moral decline has reared its ugly head once again and troubles from foreign lands plague us each and everyday. Some things have not changed over the years. We still have some of the same problems faced by Dr. King in his day.

There are still the homeless, the destitute and the hunger. There are still those who have been denied services and those who have been denied rights guaranteed them each and everyday.

There are injustices that still occur. There is still prejudice and malice. There is still people who judge others only by the color of their skin and not by the content of their character. These things will probably not change in my lifetime, but it won’t hurt me to hope for a better world – a world where they don’t exist.

Dr. King had a dream and I have a dream also. My dream is that people will learn to live together in a nation that is neither white nor black or yellow or red.

I have a dream that prejudice will cease and children will be allowed not only the ability to play together at school but elsewhere.

I have a dream that hatred in the form of cross burning, vandalism and name-calling will not be tolerated.

I have a dream that we’ll see a day when it won’t matter what neighborhood you live in and what background you come from because everyone will have respect for the other person.

I have a dream that people won’t be judged by their color, but instead by the person they really are.

I have a dream that people will learn to work together in civic, professional and other organization to make the world a better place.

I have a dream that people will realize that we all serve the same God and we all bleed the same color.

I have a dream that one day people will be exactly who they profess to be and stop pretending.

You would think that after the Supreme Court banned segregation years ago, the slings and arrows of segregation would not be present, but if you look around, segregation and bigotry are right before your eyes. We all think it will go away, but day after day we are all faced with people who are still living in a day and age when color not character rules.

We all need to rededicate ourselves to the commandments King lived by and help those people, who through ignorance, bigotry, hatred, prejudice and just plain stupidity, won’t accept the fact that America was built with the blood, sweat and tears of all men and women – black, yellow, red and white.

We must teach people – starting with our children – that America is a country &uot;of the people, by the people and for the people&uot; and that includes those of every race.

Right here at home, we all know things aren’t the way they should be. People right next door to you despise you because you are not the same color as they are, but if we don’t learn to get along, we will all destroy one another.

Dr. King always talked about the day when all men and women would come together. Let’s keep his dream alive. It is possible for his dream to come true and my dreams as well.