I grew up believing in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream. His dream, which should be every American's dream, was that people would be judged by the content of their character, not their skin color. He believed that individuals should be judged by their skills and comportment, not the pigmentation of their skin, the size of their nose, eyes or lips, the length or texture of their hair, or even their accent.
In the almost 50 years since his death, there has been progress, but not enough. Some of the same problems that plagued King's generation and all those who came before him, still plagued us in the 21st century. Disparities in unemployment and health care, unequal justice, systemic racism, etc. In 2017, we still live in a country where people and their voices are marginalized because they express views that are different.
We as a nation must become uncomfortable with the intolerable just as King, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, James Baldwin and so many countless others stood up to racism and discrimination, and initiated change. You will not change a system when you are comfortable with the benefits of its injustice. We must become uncomfortable.
The indomitable spirit, that fire that burned within an ordinary mortal man and caused him to risk his life to lead a people to wage a nonviolent war against an unjust system, must lead us to a place where we are re-filled and re-energized to stand against bigotry and exclusion from the rights that every citizen should have. I have personally experienced silence from leaders who are willing to look the other way when the injustice is against those whose beliefs they disagree with or whose profile is not high enough to warrant their attention. But this is not right.
Injustice is like cancer. Unless we identify it and confront it, it will spread and take over our system. We must stand up and rededicate ourselves to the equality and the inalienable rights of everyone. We are the ones we have been waiting for...
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
--Martin L. King, Jr.