Dr. King spoke about the solutions of fairness, opportunity and equality. We have come so far but for many of our citizens the ideals of justice, liberty and the pursuit of the American Dream remain an elusive dream.
It's pretty easy to do the right thing when the conditions are right. It's not so easy when conditions are very challenging and doing the right thing could result in serious, negative consequences in the short term for us or for our organization.
The great advances in civil rights that were to follow in the years ahead were not at all certain as we gathered to watch the marchers stroll along in the dappled sun and shade on Constitution Ave. on a brilliant summer day. I was acutely aware of what was being said elsewhere across the nation.
What would he say if he could return to contemplate what his country has become? What if he could see how the terror brought to bear on 9/11 had turned his people into a fearful, vengeful nation, ready to stop dreaming, ready to abridge their own freedoms in order to be secure?
I bet you, like me, rarely talk to anyone about your dreams, even if you spend nearly all your time among politically active people working to improve the planet. Perhaps these days it feels somehow just too naïve, too unrealistic, too embarrassing.