Alex Rivera, Editor-in-chief, @HashtagginAlex
“I have a dream today.”
These were the words of a historical figure who we commemorate every year for his willingness to speak for the minority and his bravery towards the white American people of his time. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that most of us share. Unfortunately, it won’t cross the realms of dreamland.
Let me make something clear, by no means am I denying the effect MLK had on the historical layout of the American nation we live in today. I am not saying that his efforts alongside those of Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, and so on are going unnoticed. These men and women have paved a way for the black population to truly seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It also goes beyond the black community with other minorities receiving those same rights as well.
But let’s be honest, full equality won’t ever be achieved. I emphasize “full” equality to bring to light the fact that the great U.S. of A we live in has only made equality visible to the naked eye. We have a semi-black president in office with countless minorities in congress and the White House. Women can vote through the suffrage campaign they pushed back in the day. But inequality goes beyond politics and political figures.
Racism is a real thing, as are prejudices. Sadly, these will always be around because not all minds think alike. We live in a nation that preaches equality but doesn’t necessarily practice what it preaches. Living in NYC at the time 9/11 happened gave me a rude awakening to that. Being a minority myself during that time, I had to deal with a lot of second-looks and “random” bag searches from New York City police officers.
“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.” So do I Dr. King. So do I.
But this goes past race and gender. Prejudices have now found their way into the lives of different lifestyles. Coming from liberal New York to conservative Utah has really taken me aback. It is so hard to see people I care about, and those I don’t, get judged based on the life they lead.
Equality goes beyond political rights. It touches on the simple interactions in life with others. You have the right to live the way you want and not be judged for what you eat, what you wear, who you date and what career you choose. Social rights are just as important as political rights. I am a believer that there is an opposition in all things. That is why full equality won’t be achieved because there will always be those that oppose it.
That being said, we can make a difference even if we don’t achieve that full equality that Dr. King wanted for this nation. Our efforts won’t go unnoticed if we put our arm around those who feel detested and ignored. MLK said to those being denied their rights, “In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” Nor should we towards those who are different from us.
I have a dream but it’s just a dream that prejudices won’t exist anymore and that racism will be a thing of the past. I hope to see a reality that each of us can do our part to get a little closer to that dream. We won’t reach it, but we can minimize the ostracizing of those who are different than us to the best of our ability.
“I have a dream today.” Let’s try to make it a reality.