I never had a chance to meet him, speak with him or even follow him to the Mountaintop. I graduated high school in 1986 and at the age of 18 I finally witnessed Martin Luther King recognized as a US Federal Holiday.
All my life King has been an influence to my family and me. I remember that we always had a picture of Martin on the wall growing up. A constant reminder of how far African Americans had come but how far we still had to go and that the dream was still attainable.
Every year my father would put on the 45 record and I would hear the voice of the man that I had only seen in black and white images plastered across our television set.
Most people know the famous 'I have a Dream' speech but King had more than just those words tucked away in his brilliant mind. There are quotes all over the place some known but most unknown.
I was struck by how keen his foresight into the world was and how much impact he made just by the using the simple spoken word. His words weren't carelessly written on a piece of paper made to look nice later on.
He spoke with care, compassion and passion.
All I'm saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
What was important then as it is now is that all of humanity must strive to come together. All of us are walking the karmic wheel of destiny, a never-ending cycle of life lessons. We are like a diamond that have not been honed, ever changing and moving towards a brilliant light of compassion and selflessness.
Writers more than anyone else have the power to bring the world to their knees. We can lift them to heights that know no boundaries with just our words.
We must be careful that what we say today can shape the world of tomorrow and that we are all responsible for our actions when we cast our nets, they are far reaching.
I have a dream because of Dr. Martin Luther King, my parents, and all those who came before and those who will come after I have long turned to dust. All those who will one day in the future speak words of wisdom that will move a nation and perhaps change the world.
I leave you with the powerful words written by the lovely Patty Griffin singing her song 'Up to The Mountain Top'.