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Archive for February, 2013

A Dream Coming True

by Erin H. – 8th Grade

The third Monday of each January is a federal holiday that most Americans enjoy as a day off from work or school. Often times, Americans spend this day sleeping in, going to the mall, or hanging out with friends, but the true meaning of this day is usually forgotten. This day celebrates the birth of one of the most powerful historical figures in the United States of America, Martin Luther King Jr. King is considered one of the most important leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. In this speech, King envisioned the way people should be judged, by “the content of their character”, not by the color of their skin. Throughout the speech two main themes are presented about how people should be judged: without racial prejudice and equally.

King had a dream that no matter what race or ethnicity you are, you would only be judged by the way you act and your integrity, or your character. This was made clear in what may be the most famous line from Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech. This line stated, “I have a dream that my four 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.” His dream was for a world where it didn’t matter if you were black or white, dumb or smart, athletic or not athletic, fat or skinny; it only mattered if you were a good person. In addition, King believed all citizens of the United States of America should be “…guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” King said that according to the Declaration of Independence, all Americans were to receive these rights, but “…America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.” King needed these rights to be granted to every citizen in order for his dream to one day be fulfilled.

Today, if an outsider came into my hometown of Reading, I think they’d say we are an example of King’s dream coming true. Reading, like most American towns, attempts to hold itself accountable to King’s dream of ending racial prejudice and equality for all. In my thirteen years of living in Reading, I have never personally witnessed racial injustice or someone not being treated equally. This is not say that people don’t have preconceived opinions about whether or not others are kind or mean, smart or dumb, athletic or not, but this happens everywhere. Let’s face it, we live in an imperfect world; we don’t live in Utopia. Today, our society, including the citizens of Reading is focused a lot on the exterior, expecting people to look and act like celebrities, but if outsiders really looked closely at our community, they would say Reading’s character is great. I know many people, young and old, who are involved in programs such as Mission of Deeds, Adopt-a-Family, and Friends of Reading Recreation. All of these people are trying to make our town and the surrounding area a better place to live. Right here at Parker Middle School, many people are involved in the Parker Leadership and Service; or Parker News Live programs. All of the people involved in these programs have one intention: to make Parker and Reading a better place, therefore, I think Reading’s character would be judged favorably.

In my hometown, like many other places, you can see Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is coming true. People are no longer segregated or judged because of the color of their skin or their ethnicity. Now, everyone gets equal treatment when they go to school, shopping, or to a restaurant. However, there are still subtle messages of prejudice that people have towards others that they haven’t gotten to know. For example, if someone is very overweight, a person who just walks by him or her might think that the person is lazy. However, this person is probably not lazy, their weight is just something that they have struggled with for their whole life. Who knows if there will ever be a perfect world where there will be no prejudice or inequality, but today, we have come such a long way from 1963, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is finally coming true.

 

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