For days, I have been thinking about the march in Washington D.C. to “reclaim the dream.” I wanted to hear what others in attendance thought, not to take their thoughts as my own, but to let the whole experience wash over me before talking or writing about it. Our 24/7, say-it-fast, say-it-first news cycles don’t allow the luxury of time. but this was such a special experience, I felt like I needed the time to think back over what happened.
First of all, kudos to the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network for working with other organizations to put the “Reclaim the Dream” event together. If, on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the original location was not available, no problem. Rev. Al and others kept it moving and chose another location. In this case, the march began with speeches at the district’s Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. The destination of the march was the construction site of the memorial honoring Dr. King on the National Mall.
The organizations represented included the National Action Network, the NAACP, the National Urban League, labor and education groups, black farmers and media. Speeches were given, memories shared and promises made.
What struck me – and has stayed with me – is the young people and children in attendance. Some came on their own, others brought by a relative, family friend or teacher. The young people talked about what Dr. King’s dream meant to them, but the passion came when they shared their own dreams.
How great was it to see kids perched on the shoulders of a parent! And the conversations the parents were having with the children as they made that four- to five-mile trek from Dunbar to the King memorial site. They talked about Dr. King and what he meant to this country and to the world. But then the direction changed, as the parents asked the kids what this day looked like to them and what their dreams were.
I so commend the men and women who included the children and young adults in this event. Even if your young charge was a tad bit too big to carry on your shoulders, it was obvious that you remembered those people on whose shoulders you stand, and now you continue that tradition. The dream lives on!