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It Was 57 Years Ago Today

57 years ago the world was let into the mind and dreams of a heaven-sent messenger who issued a dire warning cloaked in empathy, love and tolerance.  Maybe it's just as well that MLK is not around to see what we have become.  The 'Great Society' that offered hope and civil rights has devolved into an American Reich where 'a few good people' walk with Nazis, and the bounty on the heads of young black men are paid with bended knees and interruptions in NBA schedules.  The grass stains that are brushed away by our authority figures do nothing to bring back our brothers, fathers and uncles who are profiled, then shot in the back.  Or choked out by the weight of a knee while a cop casually surveys the crowd.

Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech was cool spring water for a thirsty country.  We drank from the fountain of love and hope that he offered.  But he was gunned down, and that cool spring of water became a bourbon of gluttony and sloth that served to inebriate all of us into a malaise of apathy and disregard.  Disregard for not only our African American brothers - but also for latinos, asians, any visible minority that a laser sight could target, or those who grow up struggling with their identities, their sexualities - the struggle that all of us have at one time either personally or culturally.  We forget, and we forget hard that if there is anything that binds us together and offers an antidote to racism and intolerance, it is that we all suffer from oppression.

Oppression...the ties that bind us together may be that which threatens to kill us.

We also have a dream.  Inspired not only by Martin Luther King, but also by Black Lives Matters, the Anti-Defamation League, CORE, CAIR, La Raza and other organizations whose mission is to elevate their members to an equal playing field.  

"Yeah but they hate..." is often the response I get when I mention any one of these organizations.  "White Lives Matter too!" is the rallying cry of racists.  We are unable to focus.  We have stopped listening.  We finish the sentences of others before we understand the intent.  We are out of context, and we must reboot our response to racism.

This is what DREAM is all about.  Your voice, standing amongst other voices.  All of us, having felt oppression or witnessed racism - we stand together and unite our voices in this platform, and take the inspiration of those whose recorded voices join ours.  We DREAM of a day when black fathers are not shot in the back while their children watch in horror.  We DREAM of a day when worshiping in a synagogue doesn't mean passing through a metal detector.  We DREAM of a time where the call to prayer is not a call to slaughter.  We DREAM of a day when children are not bullied because they are different, and we can love who we want to love, be with who we want to be with, and raise our children in a society that is built on empathy, tolerance and remembrance.

Richard Stellar

Founder, The Man/Kind Project, Inc.