Let’s keep the dream alive.
Let’s make the dream a reality.
Last night, I re-read the entire transcript of MLK’s speech and wondered if he were alive today, would his speech have been reworded from this “Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring — when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” to something different. Would he have included black women and white women, biracial people, Muslims and Hindus, anyone in the LGBT camp, atheists and secular humanists, undocumented aliens? How do our dreams today differ from those of the past and will we ever truly be “Free at last!”?
I know that some in the LGBT community were disappointed that the African American community did not rally behind the anti-proposition 8 movement when that proposition passed several years ago in California. It is an interesting academic question whether or not MLK would have considered extending freedom to all groups or did he just have the more modest objective of having the African Americans be able to join the “in-group”.
I have learned that sometimes when people say “freedom for all” what they really mean is “freedom for all … those of whom I approve.” Reading the speech just got my wheels turning … even though we cannot know the answer to the question I asked.
I have a feeling he didn’t imagine it would look like how hip-hop culture has devolved.