And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
–Martin Luther King Jr.
This is one of the most inspiring speeches ever given. Even reading it makes you want to take a stand to be a better man and to fight for those people who are oppressed. We have come a long way since then, but we haven’t arrived. I was born 11 years after this speech and still I grew up with surrounded by words of hate and ignorance. I grew up in a world where racism had gone underground, but it was still there. Years after this speech racism still lived strong only then it was spoken in hushed tones while you looked around to see if anyone heard.
But now, here we are, still not having arrived as a country or as a people, but on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration and I have to say that I at least have hope for our future. Racism and bigotry aren’t leaving the scene any time soon, but in working with teenagers I see a hope that I wouldn’t have imagined even in my younger years. Sure we aren’t perfect. Sure we all are afraid of someone who isn’t like us sometimes, but I think that right now I can say that I have a hope that the world that my son grows up in will be much closer to the dream that Dr. King had all those years ago.