"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence."
It's been 52 years since Dr. Martin Luther King took a courageous stand in our Nation's Capitol, speaking these words, risking his life for black men, women and children. MLK spoke about racial justice and hope for the true equality for our people. More than half a century has passed yet we have not fully realized this "Dream".
While much has changed for African-American citizens in our country, we have not been healed. We can recall the horrendous acts that have transpired over the past year. Racism is all around us. As a white woman (Italian descent) I have felt the hatred from other whites. The ignorance weighs heavy on my heart.
My daughter is not considered "white" as she is mutli-cultural or "mixed" as some people say. Since the days my daughter was able to speak to me, she would ask, "Why am I brown and you are white?" I would go on to explain that the color of our skin is different as our hair or eye color may be, but we are indeed the same, for no one is exactly like one another. Our insides are the same, we bleed the same, breathe the same oxygen and have the same basic needs. I gave birth to her, yet the skin color differentiates us. As she questioned me, I would imagine the difficult times she may experience throughout her childhood as she is faced with the same question from schoolmates.
Our ego seeks to separate ourselves from others. We naturally judge or question what is different, what we aren't familiar with. This separation was necessary for survival at one point of human existence but is it now?
Think about what it would be like if we had no stereo types, no preconceived notions about another race? What if our collective memory slate were to be wiped clean and we could look directly into the eyes of another and consider their passion and their pain? What if we could look beyond the physical appearance and feel the hopes and dreams that the individual is praying for daily? We could then see that we are the same.
Taking it back to our children, we are not born with hate in our hearts. We simply are not. Our journey through life can take it's toll on our spirit as we unintentionally collect opinions and beliefs, some of which are damaging to our soul and society. Perhaps a story once told by your grandmother or father was spoken from a perception that was obstructed by fear and misunderstanding.
As we mature, we have the ability to take the time to know ourselves and learn our core values. We can look at our fears and confusion and see how we project that onto others. We can also control that which we speak and that which is heard by our children while in our presence.
Love is our birthright and it does not have to be earned or found. At times it may be suppressed by the burden of our personal journey, but don't allow it to remain dormant for too long. The more you express love, the more you feel it within your experience.
To realize the "DREAM" we must start with ourselves. We must begin to look at ourselves and examine our thoughts of others. We mustn't use words that were created to bash or enslave our brothers and sisters. If we hear someone else doing so, we shouldn't stand for it. We must practice looking at others with compassionate eyes and forgiving and loving others even when we struggle to do so, even if it takes a few days or a few weeks, work at it. That's why it's called practice also known as work. The more you love and seek to, the more you will find that you are feeling peace within your own heart. When we share this wisdom with our children, the generation will change and our "DREAM" will be realized.
THANK YOU Dr. Martin Luther King for sharing your love and showing up BIG in our world.
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." -MLK