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Realizing The Dream

This is a reprint of an article originally published in January, 2009 in TheBig3Zone.Com blog.

Genesis 41:15-16 “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

Today around the country, many will commemorate the legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Countless times you will hear the phrase, “I have a dream,” probably Dr. King's most famous quote. For our part, we should seek to understand and realize the dream that he had for America. Many feel that the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama represents the fulfillment of the dream and of course I think that is partially true, however many, like those who couldn’t interpret Pharaoh’s dream, have missed what the the dream actually means.

Yesterday after we had dismissed from our church’s worship service, I was outside talking to my brother, the pastor of our congregation. We saw a couple of students from the local university pass by and as they walked, the pastor questioned if they were ready for classes to start by asking, “are you all ready for Tuesday?” which is the first day back at school. One student responded, “oh yeah, ’09 is the year of black folks,” surely referring to the impending inauguration of an African American as President. That young man has missed the dream.

What would Dr King’s dream actually look like? I think it would look much the way I felt one day as I neared retirement from the Marine Corps in 2005. I was in a meeting at the office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon. I had been to this weekly meeting many times before, but on this particular day, for seemingly no reason, I realized that I was the only African American in the room. I think that was the realization of Dr King’s dream. See I wasn’t there because of my color and my color wasn’t important and there were no big ceremonies because it marked a special accomplishment by people with my skin color. There was no fanfare, no parade, simply a human being working with other human beings. That was the fulfillment of the dream. Color was not considered, character was.

Dr King wanted people of all colors to be judged by their character and abilities and you can find great character and ability in people of all shades. While marking milestones of people of various shades may identify to us certain accomplishments by a smaller, segmented group, know today that the realization of Dr King’s dream happens every day as people of character fulfill their God-given abilities and talents without recognition of their skin tones. Today, don’t just have a dream, be one.

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