On April 4, 2018, the world will remember the martyrdom 50 years ago of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is remembered as one who had “a dream”, a dream he shared on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963. There he and thousands of dreamers began “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” for black people whose lives mattered.
Dr. King’s personal dreams met a tragic end 50 years ago, but his dream speech still stirs the hearts of all who had and still have their own dreams for jobs and freedom.
Following those dreams on March 7, 1965 Dr. King and his dreamers attempted to march from Selma to the capital of Alabama in Montgomery in a struggle for voting rights for black Americans. At the Edmund Pettus Bridge those dreamers were met with racist remarks from segregationists, followed by hoses, dogs and police clubs. Many were injured and others jailed in what became known as “Bloody Sunday”.
But dreams will not be crushed as dreamers continue to dream and struggle in every age.
This is happening in 2018 when “Dreamers” in the hundreds of thousands struggle for their hopes not to be deported. These “Dreamers” are immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children. Some of them are DACA recipients (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), dreamers who also arrived in the U.S. as children but who registered under a provision of the Obama Administration to protect them from deportation while they wait for a process toward full citizenship.
Today’s “Dreamers” have become victims of other racist and nativist remarks as well as pawns in a political battle to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
To date a “Bloody Sunday” has not happened for “Dreamers”. Still many have already been arrested and deported, while others live in fear of a knock on the door or an arrest on the way home from school or work.
As the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s martyrdom nears it is imperative not to let history repeat itself. Dr. King and his companions blazed a trail for black citizens to make their dreams come true, though still awaiting fullness.
May today’s “Dreamers” take heart in the midst of their suffering and dream of the day that they, like the black lives that mattered before them, will find their dreams fulfilled and full citizenship will be forthcoming.
It is also imperative that U.S. citizens struggle to support and work for today’s “Dreamers”.
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