I still have a dream

In my Human Behavior in the macro social environment class this semester, we’re watching Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech two weeks from now, in the unit on social justice (thank you, YouTube!). I wanted to start pretty early with this idea, because I believe very strongly that talking about community organizing, group formation, and organizational development absent a context of social justice and empowerment is not just boring, it’s dangerous.

I’m looking forward to the discussion and, of course, to watching it again. But this isn’t a holiday about looking backwards, as much as that may bring us inspiration. And it’s not a holiday about sleeping in or taking a day off work. It’s about working even harder, at the things that really matter, and standing up boldly for that which is right.

For you, maybe that’s standing on the corner with an anti-war sign (like a guy I know, Marvin, often does on this day). Or maybe it’s volunteering with youth like the folks at NCCJ did for years. Or maybe it’s going to a church service or attending a vigil or registering some voters or planning for the legislative session. Whatever it is, make it about the dream. And make his dream yours.

Here it is. Happy Martin Luther King Day. Go out and DO SOMETHING about the dream.

2 responses to “I still have a dream

  1. Glad that you’re showing MLK’s speech in class. Lucky students. It’s such moving speech. My family and I listened to it on npr yesterday. Although my oldest has read it and memorized part of it, he thought it was very cool and real to hear Dr. King speak. His voice has such emotion and richness and to hear the crowd respond to him definitely added to the experience.

    Yes, I agree community work can be dangerous work. But we must continue the work and support each other in this work. But I have to admit since I have had kids, I do think about what I do and how that could impact my family’s safety. But I do continue.

    Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Day!

    • Lesa, it’s great to hear from you! And happy new year. I’m so not surprised that you listened to the speech with your kids yesterday! THEY are lucky, too, to have you as a mom. It’s funny; I actually meant more that mobilizing communities outside a context of social justice is ‘dangerous’, in the sense of potentially undermining, rather than advancing, social justice. I really don’t think about the actual, physical dangers much anymore; they were certainly much on my mind when I was receiving threats regularly doing immigrant rights work, and they have a lot to do with why there are no pictures of our kids on CtoC or Facebook or anything, but not as much a part of my life as they were. I spent yesterday taking care of my youngest son, who’s sick again, and Coretta Scott King was on my mind as never before. Her sacrifices, as a committed activist for social justice and a wife and a mom, are huge. Be well, Lesa; I hope our paths cross soon!

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