50 Years Later – Why Isn’t Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Dream” Realized?

Lunenburg HIgh School 87 Yearbook Lisa Sullivan

Image above is of my Lunenburg High School Class of ’87 Yearbook – The Echo.

While I fully realize we’re over the 50-year mark since Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his most poignant speech in all of history, this question comes today because as I type…right now…my hometown, specifically my alma mater, Lunenburg High School,  is suffering its own lack of living the dream…and it saddens me greatly.

Recently, a citizen of Lunenburg, Massachusetts has taken it upon him/herself to vandalize another citizen, an LHS student and freshman football player’s home by spray painting a racial slur onto their dwelling.

Let me stop there for a minute. Soak that in. Swallow it. Is your first reaction the same as mine was – “What the?” … “In Lunenburg? Or anywhere else for that matter?”…along with a definitive shaking of the head? It should be.

While all the facts have not been presented in this case, what I can definitively say is that it has gone way beyond reporting it to the local police and instead has become a criminal case involving the District Attorney’s office and the FBI. Subsequently, the school district has elected to cancel the rest of the football season because of the on-going investigation and released a statement explaining that decision. As of this writing that’s all we really know.

What’s happened now is this case has garnered national attention thanks to ESPN, Fox News, NBC News, ABC News, even CNN.

In my little hometown of 10,000 or so residents. The town I grew up in and loved dearly. The town where apparently, the subject of race is still an issue and if there’s anything that saddens me the most, it’s that.

I have a dream that 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.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr., August 1963.

Before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I assure you, my blinders are not on. Race is STILL an issue in this country as a whole. I don’t need to point out the numerous stories and cases out there to prove that point. The bottom line here is I stand with King. Really? 50 years later – why is this an issue….still?

Look we ALL…no matter what color we are…we all have our own stereotypical views of how others should be and act. Let’s be honest here. If we’re going to go pointing fingers and calling names, why not just call everyone out – whites who live in the country often referred to as “rednecks”, for instance, or how about anyone who lives in the south called “southerners” (or anyone who lives in the north called “Yankees”). The thing is within our own races, there are stereotypes so if you’re going to pull the kind of crap that was pulled in my hometown, why let only one race continue to get the brunt of it? Why not just let the name-calling fly?

Because that’s not who are are supposed to be as human beings.

That’s not how we are supposed to treat each other.

So, I don’t care if you’re white, black, yellow, green, blue, purple, Indian, Asian, European, African. No matter who you are – you are to treat each other equally period. End of story.

My entire hometown is now the subject of yet another story about race. It has now been marked as such. That saddens me more than the inability of the high school football team to complete its season. I know there are several members of my hometown that disagree with that statement. And I get that there are hard-working innocent people (football players, cheerleaders, coaches, parents, etc.) who are affected by the actions of a few, but the thing is this is now a criminal case and if to ensure the process of finding the culprits to this act of defamation of vandalism is fully and sufficiently carried out it means that the football season has to end, then it has to. This is not merely the school system making a decision that could be overturned (with enough backing). Let me repeat this in big letters – THIS IS A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION. The FBI is involved. It is what it is. My prayer is that the outcome of this investigation does not lead to a town, a state, even a country, divided but rather we all work together toward a common goal, a solution that will end this absurdity for once and for all. And really, the bottom line is…

We are ALL equal.

And that’s the BIGGER issue.

I pray that those in charge of the investigation make it to a swift and just conclusion so that the town can move forward in unity and in strength with equality for all. Equally as important, I pray for the family affected by this senseless act of…there’s a word or two for it but you know what, I’m going to call it? Crap. Because that’s what it really is. Crap. A senseless act of crap.

Further, I pray for our country, that one day we will realize Martin Luther King’s dream and we never EVER have to speak of this again. Ever.

I leave you with one more statement rarely quoted from Martin Luther King, but that which is as profound as any other within his famous speech –

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

He may have been talking about the African-American race here but you know what, in 2013 he’s talking about ALL OF US.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have more work to do to make this world a positive place for my nephews to live in. Who’s with me?

Due to the nature of the subject matter within and my desire not to turn this into a political forum, I have closed comments for this post. My hope is that you will reflect on what is shared here and will make the right decision to join me by making a positive difference in your community no matter what color of the skin of the person or persons in which you encounter. If you’d rather speak on this subject, than by all means feel free to open your own blog. That’s the beauty of the platform. You can have one too! Thank you.


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