As a lover of learning, specifically African and African-American history upon their "arrival" to this country, I must ask, in the words of the great Harlem Renaissance writer, Langston Hughes, "What happens to a dream deferred?"
Today marks the half-century anniversary of MLK's famous I Have a Dream Speech. But did you know Dr. King had already been discussing this dream in other speeches? It is documented that someone in the audience prompted MLK to share the dream that day, which he did, revealing that this had already been a topic of conversation.
So what really happens to a dream deferred?
Deferred definition: put off until a later time; postponed
When a dream is deferred, it becomes a fleeting memory in our minds. We must often command our mental capacities to remember, let alone even consider dreaming again. The dream may not necessarily die, but it's hanging on for dear life by a single thread of one of life's necessary sentiments: hope.
The Bible says: Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.
The heart of our country is sick when dreams are continuously trampled in the mud. We're infected when those who come to this country, looking for the land of opportunity, find adversity and countless barriers to entry. We suffer from attempting to be this "melting pot," when really we should be a chopped salad. Not a black hole consuming everything and making it one big pile of mush, but to be an entity that recognizes cultural and other differences and adds that to a dish which celebrates what each component has to offer.
Upon receiving the Statue of Liberty, we now have this poetic quote:
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
Well, what happens when the lights are cut off, you're evicted from your house and the door to opportunity is slammed in your face?
Dr. King had his view focused on equality in America, but also extended it to the global community. He had a dream for all people, not just Americans.
I am afraid that we don't fully live out the founding principles and patriotic quotes and traditions we have claimed to be the apex of the American dream. Have we ever?
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL."
God, please, don't solely bless the dreams of Americans, bless the non-Americans' dreams too. I have a dream today.
Let us heal, not only from the pain inflicted in this land, but let's strive to better the condition of our extended global family.
I encourage you to dream again.
Leave a comment with your dreams! I'd love to read them!