He Had a Dream

By Karolyn Castaldo on January 17, 2012

On August 2, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of the most memorable speeches in American history at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. for the March on Washington. He stood tall, in front of thousands upon thousands of people and spoke from his heart about the dream that he had for the future of our country. He had high hopes for what such a powerful nation could do, and he knew that by standing together, one day, his dream for equality would come true.

Five years later, on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated and the world lost one of the most inspiring, hopeful, promising, and courageous leaders that it had ever known.

On Monday, January 16, 2012, we celebrate this man for all he did for the country and for the world. Most people look at it as a day off from school or maybe even work, but I believe it should be a time for reflection, even if it is just for a few minutes.

One thing I have noticed since coming to college was the lack of respect that people have for different cultures within the United States as well as other countries around the globe. It is often the American way to look at ourselves as the best and the brightest. We are blessed with this opportunity. People around the world, in countries you have never heard of, do not even have the chance to get an education, while many people in this country throw away the chance as soon as they are legally allowed to drop out. We take for granted the fact that we can wear what we want, say what we please and have the chance to be the person that we want to be, regardless of religion, sex or color.

I realize that this is an optimistic way of looking at the situation in the United States. I realize than I am a female college student from a fairly well-to-do family and that I have probably never received poor treatment because of my financial status, gender, race or background. I realize that others in this very country are suffering more than I could ever imagine because of these stereotypes. This is why I believe it is so important to take the time to reflect on such things. It is necessary to realize where I am at in life right now and where others are as well.

To me, the “I Have a Dream,” speech that Martin Luther King Jr. gave symbolizes the need to recognize the problems in our society, but further, to try to fix them. We cannot truly call ourself a nation where “all men are created equal,” if we cannot look at every single person that we pass on the street and see ourselves in them, despite what they look like, talk like, dress like, or have in their wallet. We cannot truly say that we are a powerhouse as a nation if we do not take the time to help nations that cannot help themselves.

I leave you with a quote to help kickstart your MLK reflection this year, in hopes that even if you do not believe you can change anything, you will at least be thankful for all that you have.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I'm an East Coast girl experiencing life in the West. I love skiing, reading, and writing and I am always down for a big bowl of pasta.

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