In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the MLK “I Have a Dream” Speech, I think about the many schools I visit as an author in low income, African American communities and Hispanic Farmworker communities, and I realize we have a long way to go. If racists could experience what I have over and over again, they could no longer be racists. Close your eyes and you cannot discern color or wealth. Listen to the children’s questions, dreams, fears and hopes. They’re the same no matter whether you are at a school for the affluent or at a school with 100% subsidized meals. There are curious kids, kids who hug me, shy kids, misbehaving kids, geniuses and learning disabled kids everywhere I go, no matter the income, no matter the race, no matter the nationality. I’ve discovered the best way to do my part to combat racism is to not tolerate it. I encourage you too to speak up every time someone makes a racist comment. We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way yet to go. Thank you MLK for having the courage to speak up. . . .
“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement 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 spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech, August 28, 1963