Originally published in the January 2007 edition of The Voice.
Nearly 45 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, many blacks in the United States are still dreaming of King’s equal nation. The reality is that while many blacks are living King’s dream of equality and fair treatment, many are not.
In 2007, many blacks live in poverty. Many blacks can name more correctional facilities than institutions of higher learning. Many blacks will not live to see their 30th birthday. Random acts of brutality still claim young lives and many of our communities are filled with drug dealers and crack addicts. Students in those communities still are not adequately prepared to pursue an education and men and women in these communities are contracting HIV at an alarming rate.
While Dr. King is remembered for many things, his commitment to service stands out. If anything is to be remembered about King, it should be that” everyone can be great because everyone can serve.”
While the country pauses for one day, we should recommit itself to improving our communities everywhere. Not just in January, but throughout the year. Poverty, violence and ignorance will never end if our collective work ceases after the holiday.
Let this MLK Holiday be the beginning of service and fresh commitment to improving communities in this country, and maybe King’s dream can materialize sooner rather than later.