This week, as we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., there are many things we recall about his words and his vision for a better world. One of the most memorable of his speeches came during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Today many are still inspired and encouraged by the words spoken that day; words that helped to change the world. Words that encouraged work that is not yet complete. Words for the ages.
Most of us know best the closing words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on that day. I do not think that I would be wrong to say that most people, if you asked them about that famous speech, would cite the powerful and beautiful “I have a dream today…” closing. But I actually think that the most powerful part of those words that day were these:
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand’s of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
The reason I feel that way is that this call to action resonates as powerfully today as it then, more than 50 years ago. Dr. King’s words dare us to not only dream, but to do. They challenge us not only to care about something – but to do something about it – now
So let us dream today. But more importantly let us do.
Let us dream that no man, woman, or child will ever have to go to work, or school, or bed hungry again. And then let us work to end food insecurity, eliminate food deserts, and make sure that no person will have to work in a job that doesn’t pay them enough to live on and feed their family.
Let us dream that our senior citizens and people on fixed incomes never have to worry about choosing between needed medication and food for their table. And then let us work to ensure that safety net programs and services are protected while being improved and that our desire to fix our fiscal house doesn’t create pain and suffering for those who rely on government for help in obtaining basic human needs.
Let us dream that the infirmed and the hurt never have to be concerned about who will care for them after their family is gone; and that no person who is sick has to worry about getting adequate medical care. And then let us work to make sure that changes to our health care and social service systems protect the weak and the vulnerable and those who rely on them for survival.
Let us dream that dreams can come true for those willing to work hard and make an effort to succeed. And then let us work to do something about those dreams – today.