We Will Not Give Up!

Every year at this time, I find incredible inspiration in Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy.

Martin Luther King Jr., on August 28, 1963, was there during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was call for an end to racism and for civil and economic rights in the United States.

He gave what was perhaps the best-known American speech of the twentieth century: "I Have a Dream." 

Taylor Branch, in an excellent book I would encourage you to read called Parting the Waters: America in the King Years wrote that on that day, King was speaking from a prepared text. 

At one point, King cited words from the prophet Amos 5:24: "We will not be satisfied till justice rolls like the waters. We will not be satisfied till righteousness rolls like a mighty stream." The crowd could not keep quiet. They started to applaud. They started to yell back, "Tell it! Tell it! Amen!" like a church crowd. Martin Luther King could not go back to his prepared text. This moment is quite noticeable watching the speech. He stops looking at his text. 

Singer Mahalia Jackson, who was known then as "the queen of the gospel" was sitting behind him at the time, is said to have piped up as she might in a church choir: "Tell them about the dream, Martin." 

He started singing to a nation as a prophet would do with these words. "I have a dream!" King went from the Old Testament prophets, Amos to Isaiah, saying that "one day all children of God will be judged no longer by the color of their skin but the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that every valley will be raised up, and every mountain will be brought down. The glory of God will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together. I have a dream!"

On that day, Dr. Martin Luther King had a dream, and America woke up. We continue to wake up to the injustices that continue to plague us as a nation and this weekend is a reminder to each of us that part of our calling as Americans is that there would be "justice for all." 

Has that dream been fulfilled? The dream has not been fully realized. We as a culture have made incredible progress while at the same time, we still have quite a ways to go. The dream continues, and we are not going to give up on it.

Having a dream is all about the ability to envision a better tomorrow while struggling with today. It's about the ability to bravely go forward when those dreams are still out of reach and may seem impossible. We will not give up!