“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our nation and, indeed, the world has come a long way in the fifty-plus years since Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Though bigotry and racism will likely never be completely stamped out, we have gone from denying minorities service in restaurants to voting in the first African-American as President of the United States.
While Dr. King’s speech was an iconic moment in the American civil rights movement, its message is in no way limited to race, color, or creed. It has been said that “diversity is the spice of life,” and this is as close to an absolute truth as you will ever find. America was founded in diversity as our forefathers came here seeking the freedom to worship and live as they saw fit rather than continue under the yoke of oppression. Our religious and cultural differences along with our willingness to stand up and fight for the innate freedoms we were all born with make us stronger as a nation and as citizens of the world.
“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.” ~Gene Roddenberry
Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was a pioneer of racial equality in his own right due to his writing and filming of the first scripted interracial kiss on American television and he is absolutely correct here! If we are to survive as a race, and by that I mean the “human race,” we must not only accept our differences, but embrace them. We have begun to do exactly that over the last several decades and, while there is still much work to do, we should celebrate where we are today compared to where we were fifty years ago. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Help keep the dream alive!