I HAVE A DREAM BY WASFI AKAB https://wwwl.flickr.com
Has anyone seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lot of people
But it seems the good they die young.
You know I just looked around and he’s gone…*
*I’ve loved this song by Dion, 1968,
lamenting the deaths of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King & President Kennedy.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. motivated me as he advocated societal change with his passionate speeches and peaceful agenda. He was an inspiration for many Baby Boomers as many of our leaders were assassinated in the early 1960s. We were confused and unsure about where were we going at this dark time. King’s gentle way stood out. As I remember, his was a lone voice, and it took courage to forge a nonviolent path in that maelstrom. His message of love was transcendent, and it continues to rouse me today.
One of Rev. King’s goals was to actualize the rights (voter suppression of blacks and the poor continues today) of his people, under the United States constitution: “…the inalienable right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is the American dream.
We in the United States have a lot of work to do to realize the American dream for blacks; and for black and white people to live together as neighbors. The amended Constitution contains the blueprint of equality, yet it is up to us to fill in the gaps — so that the air we breathe is the breeze of inclusion, the flow of equality, the gale of acceptance, the current of respect – for all of us, not just some of us. As a social psychologist and spiritual coach, I know that the good will of one intimately affects the tranquility of the group. This is true on metaphysical, spiritual and societal levels: we are inextricably connected, and we are, each, affected by racism.
I quote from chaos theory, that everything connects. This can be applied to economic and complex systems:
No one is alone in this world.
No act is without consequences for others.
It is a tenet of chaos theory, that, in dynamical systems,
the outcome of any process is sensitive to ITS starting point –
or in the famous cliché, the FLAP of a BUTTERFLY’S WINGS
in the Amazon can cause a tornado in Texas…
(Mandelbrot and Hudson, quoted in “The Butterfly Effect: Everything You Need to Know
About This Powerful Mental Model,” https://fs.blog/2017/08the-butterfly-effect/)
The death of George Floyd set off a spark to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement. The millennial and Y generations are protesting for social justice. The Black community has the ear of the country and the world – as witnessed by mass demonstrations occurring across the globe. The time for racial change is now.
Rev. King’s voice reverberates today. Let me quote from his iconic speech: “I Have a Dream,” delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, to over 250,000 people, during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. He called for civil and economic rights for blacks in the United States; for jobs, freedom, an end to segregation and racism.
I have edited this speech in the interests of brevity.
In his own words:
“I have a dream that one day this nation
Will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident,
That all men are created equal…’
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.
I have a dream today…
That will be the day that all of God’s children
Will be able to sing with new meaning…let freedom ring.
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
So, let freedom ring…from New Hampshire…New York…
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let it ring from every state and every city, every village, in every hamlet…
We will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men…
Will be able to join hands and sing…
Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
It is almost 57 years since this speech was delivered yet social justice for blacks is still not realized. White Americans will need to make space and to share access to resources. In this sharing, we create peace in our hearts, in our homes, for our children and grandchildren…
Systematic and institutional racism needs to be called-out and eliminated. We can roll up our sleeves to take the essential personal, emotional, and societal steps. We need do this, as individuals. In the process we gain self-love, as we hold love for another, we hold love for ourselves.
Action happens at the individual level and moves outward. It will take work, but we are tough. Yes, we need to do this, for it will bring spiritual growth to our soul. Peace is the road. Love is the way.
Let’s acknowledge there will be struggle and uncertainty in this country as change is uncomfortable, yet we need to work through this. We need to heal this.
As a psychologist, I know that for change to take place, a process of grief & loss can occur. (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross – phases of grief). There is a period of shock, denial and anger. In some cases, anger surges. This is part of the normal process. The anger needs to be expressed through constructive means, e.g., communication, lawful assembly, activism. What comes next is eventually acceptance, in this case, of a new normal where blacks and whites share access to the ample resources of our country.
Action in the form of social justice and love demonstrated will be the road toward that goal.
After 27 years of solitary confinement in South Africa, Nelson Mandela demonstrated that with forgiveness and collaboration, political alliance between blacks and whites can occur.
Action, Love and Compassion need to be demonstrated. This is the road. Love is that simple, and that complex. After all, there is but one race under God and that is the human race.
Speak with you soon…
Love & Peace to all my brothers and sisters,
TY to LR for editing feedback.