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A dream deferred

After 50 years, pivotal speech still relevant

By The Advocate editorial board
On August 28, 2013

  • Honoring the past - Sofia Ruiz, a member of CCC's Folklorico Club, a Latin American dance club, performs at Monday's Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Amphitheatre. The Latino Student Union and the Puente Club hosted the event. (Isaac Thomas / The Advocate)

Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech to more than 200,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

On a warm summer day in 1963, King spoke about the common injustices that were forced upon the numerous ethnic minorities who lived in the United States during the time.
The hopeful Baptist minister wished to make peace and tolerance toward all types of people a universal practice.
But even today, 50 years later, has his dream become a reality?
No, it has not.
Humanity takes steps forward toward his dream and backward away from it every day.
For instance, the recent repeal of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 in California allows gay couples to become legally recognized married couples and receive federal marriage benefits.
Such a thing may never have happened if it weren't for Dr. King and his March on Washington.
King, of course, was not only the voice of his own people, but an entire generation.
With the U.S. population today nearly double that of 1963, there are that many more people to accommodate with a set of their own civil rights.
Current civil rights issues, such as access to education, gay rights and equality among different genders to name just a few, may never have come as far as they have  today without King and his dream.
Sure, King was a dreamer and maybe a relentless optimistic.
But it is the dreamers who can envision the outcome, and it is through people uniting around that vision that dreams become reality.
Basing judgments on the color of one's skin and not the content of their character holds humanity back.
As a whole, society must fight to change this.
How can civilization ever progress if it is being sabotaged from the inside by a bunch of angry racists?
Racism and prejudice are kept alive by both the fear of the unknown held by the bigoted and bitter feelings held by the afflicted.
Every single person alive has something that can be changed about themselves to make the world a better, more tolerant place.
With more people like Dr. King, it is safe to say that the world could potentially head in a beneficial direction.
But is it safe to say that the world will someday realize his dream?
No it is not. But that is never a reason to give up the hope of a more tolerant, integrated tomorrow.

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