Like the call upon the wind to cease while sounding, “Peace! Be still!,” we can hear the voices so clear of our ancestors who came before us. The cries of oppression and injustice from those who came before us that fill the morning’s crisp air rest still upon the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, as we stand together collectively in brotherhood and in solidarity, searching for the pursuit of happiness promised to us by birthright.
Yet, with discipline and dignity, we hold fast and true to the hope of change, as we fight non-violently to be free Americans, clinging to the truths that are called “self-evident,” that all men are equal. All this while viewing the evidence of the actions of so many that let us know we are still waiting for true equality of life, liberty and the rights that come with that pursuit.
Nearly sixty years later and we’re still seeking the privilege of the rights we sought, marched, protested, and endured so much for. No matter how far we have come, we still have so much farther to go. It is an astonishing realization that we are still waiting for the promise of the dream. We are still facing immeasurable challenges that keep us from achieving the dream.
When is the time? At what season will the tables turn? When does the fierce urgency become now? When will the dream no longer be a dream, but the reality in which we live? How long do we continue to stand in the shadows waiting for change to come, hoping leaders will make decisions that are based on a shared concept of good will for all people?
Standing on the shoulders of those who came before us, holding onto their hope for a better tomorrow, now our hope for our own children, we are still watching brutal injustices on city streets. Blatant disregard for human life viewed on news feeds is a daily occurrence. We see the handiwork of discrimination and bias in the verdicts that are played out in courtrooms — like a well-cast reality show. Having to continually explain why our lives matter as if it’s not known that all lives do. When will America the beautiful see the beauty in all her citizens?
When will the blurred lines between just and unjust laws not be bias against persons of color?
When will we finally walk down that honorable road that culminates in equal justice for those victimized twice by the very system that is supposed to protect us? Dr. King reminds us that justice too long delayed is justice denied.
We’re not looking at signs of public separation, but the separation of the public is clearly a sign we still see. When will our reality allow all of us to join in the same conversation? When do we experience the change of equality and justice for all of us, rather than the whispers of silence we so often hear as our brothers, sons and children continue to be murdered because of what is deemed to be the privilege of the privileged?
We chase down the image of what the dream was supposed to be because we believe in the promises of what our forefathers said we could obtain. It is the quality, not the longevity, of our lives that is important. No longer can we sit by and watch anyone’s quality of life be diminished because of discrimination, segregation and injustice.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” must be at the forethought of every person.
How will you choose to make your life matter in the movement for civil rights, equality, justice and freedom? The life and legacy of Dr. King is a true representation that one person can make a difference. That legacy, and that promise, still belong to us.