I’m taking a break from Weight Loss Wednesday this week. In the first place, I still haven’t lost any weight (though my pants are still getting a bit looser by the day, so that’s still encouraging), so there isn’t much to report in that department.
Much more importantly, though, is the fact that some events were so impactful in our society that they should be commemorated by our society, even by lowly bloggers such as myself. Today we mark such an event.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. stepped before hundreds of thousands of believers in Washington, D.C. and uttered the words that would ring out through the next fifty years, I was eleven days old, so I can hardly claim to be any sort of an expert on what the world was like on that day. Also, I am a white woman, so I cannot claim to fully understand the hatred and oppression that these true believers marched against. But I also like to think of myself as a person of empathy, and a person of fairness, so I certainly can try to understand the injustice that was so prevalent in our society, and I can recognize a leader who tried to change that society for the better.
Today I work in a law firm that specializes in employment law, and if I ever wondered about whether this historic march had accomplished its goals or this impassioned speech had really made a difference, I only would have to take a look at the issues that came through our office every day for an answer. A simple scan of clients’ complaints reveals that while we may have come a very long way in the past fifty years, we still have farther to go. We may no longer have segregated facilities, or blatant “whites only” employment policies, but it seems that every day people are treated differently because of the color of their skin. That is not the dream that Dr. King spoke of; it is not the society that he envisioned.
So as we mark this fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, maybe we should take a moment to reflect on what those hundreds of thousands of people were marching for, and the dream that one brave man foretold, and simply ask ourselves whether our daily actions help or hurt that cause.
I am grateful that even though I grew up in a time where I had (a few) black classmates, and in a town where people were (mostly) accepting of others, when marches and riots and all the rest seemed a world away, I was still raised to recognize Dr. King as a man of honor who was to be respected, as someone who spoke the truth. As I sit here now thinking of his truth, and recognizing again his eloquence and conviction, I know that there is nothing I can say that could hope to improve upon what he has already said. So, I will just say that my own dream is simple: that his dream will someday come true.