For the full text of the Dr. Martin Luther King "I Have a Dream" Speech, click here
On the occasion of today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birth, I listened to and read the I Have A Dream speech again. Every night here at The Fireside I have the honor of hearing a portion of the speech read aloud by the incomparable Bianca Denis and every night I hear it as it applies today.
Because it still does.
Every night as she reads those ever powerful words, those words which truly go down as the spark behind the Civil Rights Movement of the 60's, those words which live in our history as one of the greatest moments America has ever known, I am reminded of today's Civil Rights Movement. Today there is a group of people demonized, and told they are less than. There is not segregation as there was in the 60's, but there is a group of people who live in constant fear of retribution. Who, in many states in this country, have to hide who they are so they don't have to worry about being fired over it. Who are told they are less than, are not worthy of equality to a group of people who are in the majority, and who have the historical superiority on their side.
The LGBT community is today's Civil Rights Movement.
Fifty years ago, a great American delivered a speech which stands as a great "beacon of light" in our Nation's history, and brought change and equality to millions of Americans who were told they were less than.
Fifty years later, our country is still pushing to fulfill the dream laid out by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. However it has lost its way in its quest for recognizing what was at the heart of the dream he gave us. Freedom. Equality.
*Please note, many of the following words are direct lifts from Dr. King's famous speech, I understand that these are not my original words or phrasings*
In a sense, the LGBT community is here to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all people, yes, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders as well as heterosexual people, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her LGBT citizens are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has give the LGBT community a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."
But I refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. I refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, I believe that the LGBT community should go to Washington to cash this check, a check that will give them upon demand, the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
And I think it should happen on August 28, 2013. Fifty years to the day of Martin Luther King's glorious speech.
I think that they should go to our nation's capital to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of discrimination to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
You see Dr. King had a dream, he had a dream which echoes through eternity, and still resonates today.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
In 2013, I would add some names to his list. When we allow freedom to ring, we will speed up that day when all of God's children, male or female, regardless of race, creed, sexual orientation, etc. LGBT men and women and Heterosexual men and women, will be able to join hands and sing in the words so beautifully reminded to us by Dr. King.
We can fulfill his dream. We can continue striving to create a country which is the beacon of equality and hope. People rushed to our shores on the belief that this country could make them greater, and that belief should still stand true today, regardless of who they are. We need to act. Please write your congressmen and women, your senators, your representatives, and demand that they pass ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act). Write your politicians and show your support for the passage of gay marriage laws at a federal level. We can do this, 50 years later, we can continue to hold Dr. King's cause. It's one worth fighting for.
R.I.P. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thank you for your dream, it made a difference.
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