Five decades ago, a leader stood tall in front of more than 250,000 freedom seekers. Born as Michael, but more widely known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech. His words have been marked as one of the world’s, “greatest demonstrations for freedom in the history of [the United States].”
King’s speech was radical in the way it challenged democracy by bringing to light the contradictions of the American lifestyle with references to the Declaration of Independence and the national anthem. With the voice of a warrior and a heart of gold, King’s metaphorical passage of justice and his non-violent approach for equality created a necessary, if not mandatory, wave in the Civil Rights Movement.
Without a doubt, humanity has walked down a painfully long path towards liberty. Our triumph can easily be seen in the bus or on the train, where both black and white can sit side by side, at schools where we no longer separate children on the basis of race, at fountains that don’t have signs directing coloured folk and so forth.
Not all of us are free. And if all of us aren’t free, then none of us are.
Yet, still we are not free. I hold strong the belief that the chains of psychological enslavement are tightly wrapped around some of our young men and women who have blindly fallen within the illusion that our fight for true freedom has ended. Not all of us are free. And if all of us aren’t free, then none of us are.
We have yet to accept every single human being no matter their race, gender, sexuality, religion or identity as a fellow human being. So, we need to challenge ourselves and conquer the fear of other. By first acknowledging that hatred is fear and realizing if one is afraid of another, one must be fearful of one’s self.
For if the dream was to wither, then so would we.
What we need to do specifically within the black community is reignite the sense of unity by building our boys and girls to love themselves for who they are. That means, to remove the need for Black boys to prove their physical strength as they grow into men and to teach girls to love the blackness of their skin and the various textures of their hair. For as King said, “we can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality… We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood…”
To this day, Black still isn’t good enough. Black isn’t beautiful. Black is still something to fear.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. I believe that dream is not dead. And the words of his dream can be seen and heard by many. For if the dream was to wither, then so would we. We, the youth, the ‘future’ growing into the present, can be separated into two categories: there are those of who dream to live and there are those who live to bring their dreams to life.
I know with the knowing beyond me that change is and will come for all. How could it not when we are the generation of dreamers? The young Kings and Queens who dream with a flame.
Words By. Faduma Mohamed + Photo By. Mitzy Blair