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Jan14
The Power of "The Dream"

This week we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  While some treat this holiday as just a long weekend and some companies make it one of their "floating" holidays, others take time to remember the man and his accomplishments.  Perhaps we need to take time to examine the power of the speech he is known for best, the I Have A Dream speech of 1963.Mlkfreeatlast

On August 28, 1963, under a nearly cloudless sky, more than 250,000 people, a fifth of them white, gathered near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to rally for "jobs and freedom." The roster of speakers included speakers from nearly every segment of society -- labor leaders like Walter Reuther, clergy, film stars such as Sidney Poitier and Marlon Brando and folksingers such as Joan Baez. Each of the speakers was allotted fifteen minutes, but the day belonged to the young and charismatic leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

King Martin Luther King Jr. had originally prepared a short and somewhat formal recitation of the sufferings of African Americans attempting to realize their freedom in a society chained by discrimination. He was about to sit down when gospel singer Mahalia Jackson called out, "Tell them about your dream, Martin! Tell them about the dream!" Encouraged by shouts from the audience, King drew upon some of his past talks, and the result became the landmark statement of civil rights in America -- a dream of all people, of all races and colors and backgrounds, sharing in an America marked by freedom and democracy.

Looking at his speech, one theme that emerges is his power to cast a vision for the future.  Take a look at his vision:

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."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

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.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

Although this dream was cast nearly 43 years ago, it's withstood the test of time.  In some ways, we as a nation are closer to achieving it.  In others, we have far to go.  Nevertheless, Americans continue to work for the dream.  He may be gone, but the legacy, the passion, and the inspiration, live on.

Have you taken the time to dream some powerful dreams for your own future?  This principle works the same way in your personal life if take to time to apply it.  Imagine what you want for yourself, your family, and your community.  Communicate those dreams with others around you and enlist them in your quest.  The alternative is living day to day with no thought of the consequences for tomorrow.  Kind of a scary prospect if you ask me.

Happy Birthday Dr. KingI  Thanks for sharing your dreams with us.  May we give of ourselves to make them come true.


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