Another year and another celebration about dreams. Dreams about a character based society. Dreams about justice flowing like a refreshing wave on bodies seeking life, liberty, and happiness. Dreams of a society rich in brotherly and sisterly love.
As much as I have read, listened, and reread the words of Dr. King, at some point I have to wake up and realize how much of these dreams are actually a reality. I’m not living in the time period of my parents who were nineteen and eighteen at the time of his death. I don’t have the lived experience of segregated schools in Louisville, Kentucky, or the isolated schools of Covington, Tennessee.
Pettus bridge marches.
Vocally racist Democrats.
Divided churches both Black and White.
These were the lived experiences of men, women, and children in a different social and political time. A time period when it was normal in most parts of our country for people not to realize the full potential of what it meant to be an American, regardless of skin color. Let’s be honest racism harms the perpetuator and the victim.
But what I can’t understand are the realized dreams which were in full effect prior to and during the life of Dr. King. Yes we were segregated but we were flourishing in many respects.
I have to dig deep to find the communication of those realized dreams. The dreams of triumph, success, and achievement by stellar Black men and women. Check that. These are not dreams these were goals realized.
It seems as if Black Americans are defined by one dream announced in Washington D.C. or by current day nightmares. You know the list of nightmares all too well. Nightmares which would have America to believe we are the only people who suffer from such night terrors. But we have dreams fulfilled.
Black owned businesses.
Black owned schools.
Black mayors, senators, congressional leaders. President.
We have to refuse to be defined by nightmares. So wake up.
We also have refuse to be told we are still waiting for a Civil Rights preacher’s dream to be realized. So wake up.
We should wake up to the reality we are a lot further along than we care to admit.
The only way to conquer your nightmares and fulfill your dreams is to wake up, celebrate your successes, acknowledge your failures, and get to work.