Thursday, January 15, 2015


"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."

Much will be written about Martin Luther King in the next few days, about how great a man he was, about how he both lived his life and gave his life so that America could be a better place, about his unbelievable speeches and his ability to move others to action.

All true, all important.

Then I think of where we are today.

So much in the news about young black men being gunned down, of prison over crowding and the high percentage of the inmates being people of color. 

It makes you wonder, are we making progress?

A friend of mine and I were talking recently about going somewhere in southeastern Connecticut.  
She made a remark that she couldn't drive in a certain town after dark without being pulled over because she is black.
I was stunned.
There is no way I can understand this.  It falls under the category of "you have to experience some things for yourself to truly understand them." Being a white male, there is no way I can experience this.

I wanted to lash out and fight for my friend, but fight whom?  I was ashamed to be white.
Again, I wondered if we had made progress.

Then I thought about the matter of fact nature of my friend's statement.  She doesn't lay awake thinking about it. 
My reaction was much stronger than her's, I think because it surprised and disappointed me, but also because she is my good friend.
Had she been white, and bullied or discriminated against for another reason, I would have reacted much the same.

I came to know her because she is a respected leader in the labor movement, I grew to love her because she is so genuine, so loving, so honest, so much fun to be with. 
I go to her for advise because I can trust she will tell me the truth, not what I want to hear, and she will do it in an upfront but not unkind way.
She asks nothing for herself, no personal gain.  She has no hidden agenda. She cares about me for being me.
She and her sons have invited my wife and I into their lives. The are special to us.

We still have a long way to go to eliminate bigotry and discrimination.
But Dr King dreamed of a nation where his children would be judged by the content of their character.
My friend and I have come to know the content of each other's character.
That is what matters to us.
That is what is special to us.
That is what Dr King dreamed of.

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