Today marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream Speech.”
I just can’t listen to this speech without tearing up, but the last several years, I’ve tried to watch it every Martin Luther King Day. It’s so moving, and so eloquent. It’s the picture of dedication and compassion. It’s a manifestation of God at work in His people. I totally understand when people compare MLK to a modern-day Moses.
Sadly though, I didn’t realize this milestone was approaching until just a few days ago. (Thank you, Twitter!) If I had, I might’ve tried to go to D.C. for the occasion, or at least The King Center here in Atlanta. It is certainly worthy of celebration. We’ve come a long way in 50 years, but there’s more work to be done. We pause to remember and honor, but we also make plans to press forward.
I think King’s speech ignites something deep inside many of us. It gives us a longing for justice. Freedom may have rung for some, but not all, and I think his speech reminds us of that as well.
So, I also have a dream.
I want everyone to be able to say, “Free at last. Free at last. Great God Almighty, we’re free at last.” There are approximately 27 million people around the world who can’t yet make that declaration. They are children, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, family and friends. They are enslaved to someone else. Literally, a slave. They need someone to fight for their rights. As it did 50 years ago, it will take people from all walks of life, working hard, banding together and changing mindsets, saying that we won’t stand for this any longer. This is an injustice. It is a threat to society. It must stop. I will help.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if, in another 50 years, we marked the end of slavery around the world? We would look around and not see perfect people, but people who have progressed. People who realize that another’s suffering and civil liberties are worth their time and effort. We must understand that if one of us is hurting, we all carry that with us. We are connected, whether we want it or not. The products you buy, the image you project, the compassion or lack thereof that you show, the attitudes that you pass on to your children, the way you speak, and on and on. It affects us all as a society.
I don’t think my dream is too audacious. 50 years? It’s possible. The abolitionist movement is swelling around the globe, as it has done in the past. All it takes is one person telling another, and then passing it on. And soon, those people are a movement. They are a force. Change can happen. Change is happening. Don’t you want to be a part of it? Wouldn’t want to look back and say you were there?
Even if this isn’t your cause or dream, you can still make small choices that can improve someone else’s way of life. “I know that I am not the only person who does not want to wear people’s tragedy. I do not want to consume their suffering with my morning cup of coffee.” – Dave Batstone, founder of Not For Sale
Everyone deserves freedom. Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Help me give others the opportunity to make their own choices. Let’s end slavery in our lifetime.
I have a dream. What’s yours?