I want to live in a world that is open and kind and peaceful. I want a life where all people, regardless of race or ethnicity or religion, are given the same opportunities as everyone else. I want to know that American freedoms are protected—in fact, I’d like to see those freedoms spread to other nations that don’t already enjoy them.
There’s a blackness seeping low around our ankles and threatening to spiral up our legs, over our hips, into our bellies, sickening us. That blackness will move—with darkness and intent—straight for our heart, where it will intertwine with the pink tissue and gray everything up. That blackness will kill us.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is a shining example of leadership. He tirelessly used his voice to teach people how to make the world a better place through nonviolence. He taught people how to solve their problems peacefully. He taught them to use their legs to march. He taught them to use their voices to point out injustice. And he taught them to use their hearts to pray. We shall overcome, he said.
And they did. They won. We all won. Because no one is winning as long as that blackness is surrounding hearts and clouding minds with hatred, greed, and bigotry.
But it’s rearing its ugly head again, that darkness. We can blame the one guy, yes, but we can’t blame him alone. One person is not enough to tip the balance to evil. It takes the many willing accomplices, maybe even those who don’t say “yes,” but who don’t say “no” either. That darkness feeds greedily in an atmosphere of fear, discontent, misunderstanding, small-mindedness, and selfishness.
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate, said, “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
It is indifference, he told us, that’s the problem. “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Like Elie Wiesel, MLK, the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis, and so many others, we need to care.
I have a dream, too. It’s about goodness winning in the hearts of leaders everywhere. It’s about a message of love and compassion going viral. It’s about grateful, compassionate people serving others first and judging second. It’s about acts of kindness happening all over the world, raising up a cloud of love so grand and spectacular that hate doesn’t have a chance. My dream is a world where corruption doesn’t pay but honor does, where our Mother Earth becomes a healing, hopeful place sheltering us all in a new beginning.
My dream is about each of us taking one small step toward standing up for what we believe in. Humans landed on the moon, walked on its granular surface—if we can do that, what can’t we accomplish? As Neil Armstrong said as he stepped from the safety of his ship onto the surface of the moon, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
This isn’t a sermon. It’s a prayer. Caring together, raising our voices, taking that one small step: We Shall Overcome.