originally, i was going to just post a photo and a quote and let those speak for themselves. but, now, as the day as progressed, i have too many thoughts rolling around in my head. in other words, i am inspired.
you see, today is a great day of history in the united states. fifty years ago today, dr. martin luther king, jr. delivered his “i have a dream speech” in washington, dc. it was the day of the famous march on washington, where thousands and thousands of people gathered peacefully and literally marched down the streets of washington, like they had been doing in cities and towns all over the south the months before. they were marching for freedom. marching for equality. marching for justice. and they were all there to say that they were not going away.
concretely, they were part of mlk, jr’s non-violent movement… staging sit-ins, protests, and other demonstrations all over the south. what did they want? they wanted to be treated equally. they wanted to be recognized as the people that they are, not as the second-class citizens that the laws of the states in the 1960s defined them as. they wanted to drink from the same water fountains, go to the same schools, ride the same buses as white people. they were fed up. tired. angry. and man, were they passionate.
the things i love about this movement were, first, its dedication and commitment to achieving equality and justice through acts of peace. and, second, the fact that the civil rights movement was a grassroots movement, led by young adults. regular people who were extremely passionate about their cause. you see, i believe that the changes that occurred because of the civil rights movement happened because of the courage, determination, and gritty stubbornness of a generation fed up with the status quo, and ready to fight (peacefully!), whatever the cost.
the question is, are the young people of today ready for and prepared to lead another revolution? because we definitely need one. by the way, i’m not sure whether to put myself in with the younger revolution, or not. i teeter on the very upper edge of it, i believe. but, nevertheless, i feel as if i am one of the elders, a mentor, to those younger adults who see and feel and know that america needs another grassroots revolution. of course, it’s not just the young that see a change is necessary, there are plenty older adults who still keep on fighting and dreaming for the country to emerge as the country we all know it can be.
the focus on the youthful generation is because the young people, as obama eluded to in his speech today, are not afraid. they are not stuck. they are still idealistic and headstrong and bull-headed. they have the energy we need to get this movement moving.
as a resident of north carolina, where the state is flipping out because, either they are stunned at the legislature’s crazy laws and bills turning north carolina backwards instead of moving us forward; or they are part of the crazy legislature that is making these insane, unjust, discriminatory, dangerous laws and policies. i know that we need a revolution. we have got to move forward, not backwards. we need to instill more equality and justice, not take away freedoms and increase discrimination. yes, north carolina is flipping out.
but, i see and feel the rumbles of a movement here. and i have experienced it personally. but, we need more. we need more energy. more passion. more willingness to sacrifice (myself included). more commitment to non-violence and peace. we need to be more like martin luther king, jr.
so, today, as i soak up the speeches, watch the videos of the historical moments 50 years ago, and think about my dreams for this country & for this world… i realize that there is much to be done. and we each have a part, if we are willing to be a part of something greater than ourselves.
i don’t have the answers for all the problems. but, i do know that we have an example of a person who gave his life (literally) to ensure that all people are treated equally. today we celebrate the vision of that man, and all of the other unnamed men & women who fought for that vision to become reality. a vision of a land of freedom, equality, and love.
so, tell me… what is your dream? and will you help me carry on the legacy of mlk and all the others? can we be the civil rights, freedom riding, nonviolent revolutionaries of the 21st century? are we willing to step up & move forward?