Martin Luther King: a dream for peace and harmony beyond racism

Martin Luther King:
a dream for peace and harmony beyond racism

Today is the first Martin Luther King Day following the death of his widow, Coretta Scott-King.

1994 Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating the
King Holiday as a national day of volunteer service. Instead of a day
off from work or school, Congress asked Americans of all backgrounds
and ages to celebrate Dr. King's legacy by turning community concerns
into citizen action. The King Day of Service brings together people who
might not ordinarily meet, breaks down barriers that have divided us in
the past, leads to better understanding and ongoing relationships, and
is an opportunity to recruit new volunteers for your ongoing work.

This is a great way to celebrate a day dedicated to the memory of a man who wanted to improve the lives of all people.  And in particular, to imagine a day and a country without racism.  But we have to work for it – if we truly want it.  We have to provide service to help create the world we want to live in.

Today in Canada, we have a history of racism.  But the governments are acknowledging and making redress for some of the worst incidents such as Residential Schools, the internment of Japanese Canadians during WW2 and the confiscation of their property, the Chinese Head Tax and the Exclusion Act that tried to preseve a “White Canada.”

Bur fighting racism is an ongoing process.  The present Canadian government's action to redress the Chinese head tax is still challenged by community leaders who say they haven't gone far enough.  Redressing head tax certificates for only those head tax payers still living, or survived by their spouses, is a slap in the face and a denial of equality to those head payers who died waiting.  Those are the real pioneers who were old enough to face the active racism, confront it, or bury their heads to avoid it.

Here are some highlights of the famous I Have a Dream by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out
the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal.

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.

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of
hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation
into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work
together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for
freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

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