MLK Day: Has the “Dream” Been Realized?

As Americans pause to honor the courageous life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. we should ask ourselves a profound question:

  • Has the vision articulated by Dr. King in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech become a reality in 21st century America?

According to a Presidential Proclamation issued by the White House:

  • “Our journey is not complete. It is our task to build on the gains of past generations, from challenging new barriers to the vote to ensuring the scales of justice work equally for all people.”
  • “And we must advance another cause central to both Dr. King’s career and the Civil Rights Movement — the dignity of good jobs, decent wages, quality education, and a fair deal.”
  • “Because America’s promise is not only the absence of oppression but also the presence of opportunity, we must make our Nation one where anyone willing to work hard is admitted into the ranks of a rising, thriving middle class.”

5 Daunting Problems

In short, many daunting problems still confront the African-American community at large, even as America approaches the 50th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

These persistent obstacles include, but are not limited to, the following:

1) Growing income inequality (whites versus people of color).

2) Lack of access to quality education (public schools and college).

3) Discrimination by law enforcement (racial profiling, arrests/convictions).

4) Employment discrimination (particularly in the private sector workforce).

5) Biased attitudes by some whites (dating back to slavery and the Civil War).

Although some instances of race discrimination may be less blatant today compared to past decades, the age-old scourge of racism still exists – whether it’s explicit, implicit, subtle or subconscious.

As Dr. King eloquently stated decades ago:

  • “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

The question today is whether the “arc” Dr. King spoke of has bent enough to ensure equal justice and equal opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race?

Unfortunately, the answer appears to be: not yet.

Yes, historic progress has been made since Dr. King’s time. But, no, the fight for equality in all aspects of society remains fleeting for people of color.

In essence, much work lies ahead to make Dr. King’s dream a reality for all Americans.


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* All views and opinions are those of the author only.

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Terrence (Terry) Hill

We were united in service at yesterday’s MLK Day event (as you can see in this picture). All of us can serve and it’s in serving others that we discover what is truly important.

David B. Grinberg

Terry, thank you so much for sharing the great pic — and kudos on your exemplary service. I think your wise and insightful comment bears repeating:

  • “All of us can serve and it’s in serving others that we discover what is truly important.”

Well said, Terry…very well said!