I have looked up to you since I was a little boy. I was only 14 years old when you were killed. I cried until my eyes were swollen and when we went to church that Sunday our minister, who had marched with you many times, told all of us that the American family had a role in your death. That this country, my country, had been crippled by the poison of racism, of hatred. He called on each of us to carry your message and work hard for your dream. To work hard for the day when children and adults were no longer judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
We are closer, Martin. We are closer. This Tuesday, the day after the day honoring you, the first African American will become the president of the United States. My eyes flood with tears of joy just writing that sentence.
The struggle for equal rights goes on on many fronts. You have been my role model in my efforts, although I have yet to reach your place of faith and spirituality. But I have held you close to my heart all these years, and having you there helps me. The price I have paid for my part in civil rights pales by comparison to the price paid by so many good and decent people. some paying with their lives, a price I am humbly willing to pay as well to assure justice and equality for all people.
Not long ago I was pushed out of a health care company because they needed to evict a voice they could not silence, a voice that insisted that the people receiving services there be treated with respect and given choice. In the scheme of things, my price was a small one.
You once said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” So true.
I don’t know what remains for me in life. But I do know that I am blessed to be on the board of an association that works with people who have survived brain injuries and I was recently appointed to a council that works heart-and-soul hard to make sure people with disabilities are afforded the chance to be as independent in the world we all live in, which includes equal rights.
God bless you, Martin, wherever you are. If you see my father and my family, give them my love and let them know I am doing my best. Perhaps they already know. I’m never quite sure about that one.
I’m going to include a link below for my readers to go to so they can see your “I Have a Dream Speech.”
Thank you, Martin, for all you’ve done for all. The struggle continues for many, and I will be in it until my last breath.
With love and respect,