Dr. King’s Dream

Joy - Gainesville, Florida
Entered on October 17, 2005

Age Group: 30 - 50
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I am a gay white woman who grew up in the turbulence of the 1960s civil rights movement. My grandfather was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and my family has always had its share of prejudice and still harbors these feelings to a certain extent even today.

You may be surprised then to learn that my belief structure comes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and especially his “I Have A Dream” speech given at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. My beliefs were not formed in 1963 when this speech took place. I was only four years old. My beliefs have formed as again and again I have heard this speech and come to understand it’s meaning.

Through the years I have come to agree with Dr. King that all people of the earth are equal and should be treated with dignity and respect. Religion does not matter. Country of origin does not matter. Amount of education does not matter, and number of dollars in ones pocket does not matter. And, most importantly for me, sexual orientation does not matter.

I grew up through the years of forced busing. I was bused past the high school that my brothers and sisters attended to the school built for the black students during the era of separate but equal. I also experienced some of the riots the busing caused, and felt the anger of the kids involved. These are some of the reasons that lead me to become infuriated when in 1975 we were herded into the school auditorium and forced to listen to a student read the “I Have a Dream” speech as part of Black History Month. I was mad that Dr. King was being glorified. I still mistakenly believed that the white folk were right and all this busing stuff was a big mistake. As the years have passed I have come to realize just how wrong I was.

In 1963, Dr. King dreamed of the day when his children would be judged by the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. If Dr. King were alive today his dream would not be totally fulfilled. All too often someone is discriminated against because they have dark skin, or slanted eyes, or speak with an accent. And all too often someone is discriminated against because they love those of the same sex.

In 1963, Dr. King dreamed of equality for blacks — for the killings to stop, for the beatings to stop, for blacks to be allowed to live where they chose, and to be able to marry whomever they wanted even if that person was of a different race. This dream is still in progress for the African Americans, and this dream is just beginning for the homosexuals. I believe all people are created equal as we are told in the Declaration of Independence. I believe all people should be treated with dignity and respect even if they are different from me. I believe in the “Dream.”