Today is a holiday, here in California, that honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Last year I wrote a post on the significance of this day as I was preparing to enter parenthood for the first time. I won’t duplicate what I wrote last year, but I will say that I think about the opportunities my children have, as mixed-race children, that those that came before them did not have. I am thankful we have come so far as a nation. I am grateful for people like Dr. King and Cesar Chavez (who we will honor later this year) that fought so hard for the rights of those who came before me and came before my children.
However, I am also cognizant of the fact that we have so far to go. I recognize barriers are still being broken almost four decades after Dr. King was murdered. Just this year, Columbia University – my alma mater, hired a football coach. This is nothing new considering the futility of the Columbia football team over the years, however the significance of this hire was that this new football coach happens to be black. On December 12, 2005 Columbia hired Norries Wilson, the first African-American head football coach in the seventy year history of the Ivy League. I am proud that an institution that I hold near and dear did what was right – and was a long time in coming. But my hope is that one day, TheMonk and Swee’Pea can grow up in a society that no longer celebrates “firsts” of any cultural or ethnic group joining the “mainstream”. Instead, wouldn’t it be great that the routine hiring of a football coach was just that – routine.
So, as we move forward, I think it’s important to remember the message Dr. King delivered on August 28, 1963. Dr. King had 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.”‘
Please take a moment out of your day to consider our great nation and how much has changed since Dr. King uttered these words. But also take a moment to reflect on how much further we have to go.
You can read the entire “I Have a Dream” speech here.