Monday, January 18, 2016

Not There Yet

The dream so eloquently and passionately expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. still hasn't been realized. While we may have made advances in some ways towards racial equality and respectful understanding, huge gaps still exist. This discriminatory thinking is rationalized by many, but that doesn't mitigate the harmful effects of this negative practice. Regardless of how it might be explained, the devaluing of another person based on skin color, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual preference, and family history is still just wrong. Making stereotypical assumptions using these factors as a filter for judgment is divisive and hurtful. This misguided thinking diminishes the value of each of us whether it was intended or not.

I'm not okay with hearing stories of dehumanization and small thinking. My spirit is heavy and my body is physically ill when a brother or sister is wounded because of it. I wish it could be corrected quickly, but recognize the long term power of this way of thinking and the diligence we must show in leading in a new direction.

We can't make great forward strides until we gain respectful appreciation for our individual diversity. Recognizing we are not only different, but are better because of our shared differences is a step we haven't taken as a whole society. I realize we will not reach a time here on this earth when all people will live harmoniously in peace with each other. That still doesn't take away from the attractive power of the dream of the possibility.

If we want to see the potential of Dr. King's dream grow, we've got to commit ourselves to mutual appreciation. We've got to figure out how to learn to trust each other when generations before (and around us) have created so much mistrust. We've got to determine what actions we can take to develop those relationships and give each other the opportunity to contribute what we have to our society as a whole. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we are in this together. How much better would things be in each of our communities if we shared a mindset of respect and appreciation?

I'm thankful for men like Dr. King who blazed a trail towards what was right even if it wasn't popular. I pray we'll see his spoken dream become our reality. Let's each do our part to make it so.

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