The celebrations of 50 years of progress toward realization of Martin Luther King’s “Dream” is already last week’s news. But I’m still glowing from the festivities because I was one of the 250,000 who gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to personally hear Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. At the time, I was living in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Virginia was the state of massive resistance to any breakdown of segregation.
I had become convinced through experience that the lot of blacks living in that state was unfair, unconstitutional, un-Christian, and unconscionable.The impact of King’s eloquence remains with me today. More noteworthy is what I learned. First, the importance of just showing up to be counted in the throng that heard the speech. What if only a few thousand people had taken the trouble to be there? Second, at the heart of all civil rights is equal opportunity. King’s dream was for a nation unafraid to provide access to equal opportunity to everyone in every aspect of life.
To what extent do we readers of the Valley Record share that dream today? I find lots of people here working their hearts out to advance opportunities. What saddens me is the number of people reflecting their fears through their votes, purchasing choices, vocal observations, selfishness, and silence. We are living in a bucolic relatively prosperous Valley with immense potential to be what people are looking for in an equal opportunity community. I see a few people living here with the vision to lead us toward that goal. All they need is more people with the courage to share their vision by standing up to be counted. Could you be one of them?