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Today is the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” Speech

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Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His aim was to end racism and promote equality. I believe that it is a struggle that will continue for the history of man because, being human beings, we will never be perfect… but should strive to be. Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t a perfect man and many efforts have been made to discredit him by pointing out his extramarital affairs or insinuating he was a communist sympathizer. He was, as we all are, a flawed human being with a normal mix of strengths and weaknesses. He however, was a man among boys and his courage, leadership and resolve should be an inspiration to anyone who seeks to improve themselves or lead others. His cause was just and his message that we should judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin still rings true today.

As a nation there is no doubt we’ve made great progress toward equality. In Dr. King’s time lynching’s, segregation and institutional prejudice were the norm. Today they are the exception but there is still a long way to go. African-Americans still receive racial epithets hurled there way on occasion. While not as overt or frequent as 50 years ago, it still happens far more than most of us white people know or acknowledge. Interracial couples often receive strange looks and snide comments and even a huge star like Darius Rucker recently faced a bigoted tweet on his Twitter account that he handled with grace and dignity:

Darius Rucker ✔

“@pqkullman: Leave country to the white folk”.

To which Darius replied

@dariusrucker “WOW. Is this 2013 or 1913″. “Ill take my grand ole Opry membership and leave your racism. Wow.”

On this, the 50th anniversary of the “I Have A Dream” speech, let us be proud that we can now live together, go to school together, work together and ride the bus together without the police or a mob showing up with water cannons, ropes and guns. Let us also be mindful that in many instances some of our brothers and sisters in America are still treated like second class citizens because of cultural differences and/or the color of their skin. As a wise man once told me “Seek to understand before being understood”. Unfortunately I haven’t heeded this advice enough in my life but when I have it’s always been to my benefit. So when you see someone who doesn’t look like you, pray to the god you pray to or speak your language, say hello and be friendly. A little kindness goes a long way.

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