We have talked about our gifts and talents. Now, what do we do when we realize what they are? Well don’t just sit there! Use them!!!! If you are a good singer, join a choir or a chorus. If you like working with animals, shelters will love you! Like working with children? So many possibilities and so little time! There are many people who we know have taken there talent/gift and used them. One was our last President, Mr. Obama. He had a gift for speech and speaking. For the first time in my adult life I looked forward to hearing a president speak. He made sense. He boosted us up and gave us feedback and we made changes.
There was someone else who was an awesome speaker. Martin Luther King Jr. I read his speech every year, because it’s in the literature book we use and because not everybody has heard his whole speech….they just seem to remember the middle part. If you read it, question yourself and others, have we continued his dream in our everyday lives? Here are some parts we need to think about:
“‘This note was a promise that all black men as well as white
men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ”
Many black children are raised by one mother, no father, and they don’t believe they will make it to age 20. How is that rights of life? How is that pursuing happiness?
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. ”
Many White people stood with MLK and risked their lives and families to do what was right. They didn’t wait, they acted. They used their talents to help others.
“But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
How many times I hear my students say, ” if they hit me I’m hitt’n back”. So sad and so wrong. That is exactly what Martin Luther King said not to do….
“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?”
Well, I know I’m not satisfied with how children and women and people of any race are treated. He had to have known that it wasn’t just one race or one culture that was to be targeted, but eventually, many races, cultures, and religions would get the same unjustified treatment. For this next part you can substitute the word Negro for woman, muslim, Native American, etc…. this speech was written for a particular time of our history but it still rings true!
“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.
We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.
We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.
We can never be satisfied as long as our chlidren are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.”
We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream .
Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”
Now the American Dream was a vision of freedom from persecution. A goal of owning land, home, getting an education and having little to no government interference. Then it became something different for different people. For the Native Americans, it was getting rid of the pilgrims then just getting the government to do the right thing….. For Pioneers in the central states it was surviving each weather and insect challenge that hit their crops. The American Dream leads us to want better for the next generation. So, now this part may be read differently by some.
“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 one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor, having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, that one day, right down in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exhalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”
Now let’s finish this out with a bang!!!! Go everywhere and do something to make things right. If there are people who don’t want to or who want to stay in the backwards world of prejudices then tell THEM to move behind a wall, where they don’t have to do anything except walk around in their own mire of hatred and disgust. Yet it is a free country but it makes no sense to offend 75% or 80% of us who don’t care about skin color or religion.
” This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. 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.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrims’ pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” —-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1963
This is timeless. Use your gifts today and tell us how you will use them. As for me, I have Choir Practice tonight, I teach tomorrow, and I wrote today. I used my gifts and I pray that God is happy.