18 January 2010

Realizing the dream - one step at a time

Today, the third Monday of January, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S. -- a day set aside each year to honor the birth, life, and legacy of the great civil rights leader. And, as I think about Dr. King and his legacy, I regret that he did not live to see the inauguration last year of the first African-American President of the United States of America.

In his famous "I have a dream" speech, Dr. King said, "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."

On November 4, 2008, we the people of the United States of America elected our first African-American president. Barack Obama was elected for what we the voters believed to be the content of his character. That was a significant step forward towards a post-racial America.

But still, racism continues to plague this country, and a truly post-racial America remains just a dream. In fact, a spring 2009 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center noted that the number of hate groups in the U.S. has actually been rising.

So it is clear that we still have much work to do. In the meantime, let's honor Dr. King today by celebrating the victories, large and small, that we have achieved since his death.

Every step counts, as long as it's in the right direction.

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