I was sitting in creative writing class when Sister Nancy Houlihan (yes, I went to Catholic School) asked us if we appreciated our days off. She then asked the class, “What did you do to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday?”. My heart sank. I had toyed with the idea of going to the DuSable Museum of African American History in my hometown of Chicago but it was too cold, I lost heart and decided not to go. I didn’t raise my hand to answer her question.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of my all time favorite people in American History. It’s amazing to me that someone would see things as they were, decide that there was a better way, and take peaceful action to bring it pass all based on the firm foundation of faith.
It’s truly biblical that God accepts each one of us as we are and does not show partiality. Like the story of Peter in Acts 1- when he saw visions of eating unclean food and was commanded to eat it. Confused, he was then summoned to Cornelius’ house, a Roman officer of the Italian Regiment. In Acts 10:2 (NLT) the Bible describes Cornelius as a “God-fearing man…He gave generously to the poor and prayed regularly to God”.
After Peter met Cornelius and heard his story he said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.
In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right”. (Acts 10: 34 – 35 NLT).
Fast forward to 50-ish years ago where “White’s Only” and “No Coloreds” signs were an ordinary everyday sight, the KKK and Jim Crow laws were a strong and prominent force and the future seemed bleak.
God called and rose up a man born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia that changed the course of history for myself and countless others. I am so thankful for Dr. King today and everyday. There are still racial prejudices and need for improvement but I believe we can move forward as a society and make things better.
Because of Dr. King and others spearheading the Civil Rights movement, I don’t have to go to the back of a store to be served. Because of Dr. King I can go into any restaurant I want. Because of Dr. King my husband, who is Caucasian, and myself can go out in public without people batting an eye (and if they have I haven’t noticed). Because of Dr. King my children can go to any school in the area not just a school for “Coloreds”. I am so grateful that Dr. King did not give up on his vision for equality and myself and the generations after me can live the “Dream”.
Every year since that creative writing class in high school, I’ve made a firm decision to read or watch the I Have a Dream Speech. It is so powerful, makes me cry without fail and awakens something deep within me. A passion for a better future and an appreciation for the life I am blessed to live now. I challenge you to read, watch or listen to these words, especially if you have never done it before and let them resonate with you.
Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King for not compromising on your ideals and helping to bring them into our world. I am blessed to be living the dream.