Dreams for Our Future
By Sister Katherine M.
Commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington D.C., August 28, 1963, civil rights and human rights groups join hands again to pay tribute to the extraordinary legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. Standing in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King urged everyone present to be a force for justice. In his now famous “I Have a Dream” speech, he offered a stirring message of hope and promise not only for black Americans but for all Americans. Above all, he courageously stood up for an end to hatred and violence. This extraordinary event in the lives of all Americans then and now poses three vital questions: How has the dream for justice and equality been realized? What dreams remain unfulfilled? What is my dream moving into the future?
In the years following the historic march of millions in Washington, there were some sweeping changes. For example, the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed to end discrimination in public places and to prohibit employment discrimination. The following year the Voting Rights Act was passed, giving minorities the right to vote without discrimination. Three years later, the Fair Housing Act made it illegal to discriminate against renting and buying residences. Much has been accomplished in the case of equality for women, which we can be proud of! No doubt the prophetic dream of Martin Luther King has been kept alive in these fifty years of social reforms. However, passage of laws aimed at eliminating the evil of racism has not prevented insipid bigotry and hatred from existing in our society. The simple truth is legislation alone doesn’t always spell progress. We have traveled a long road to change attitudes and certainly a longer road is ahead of us, especially in eliminating the prejudices we often carry within us. There is more to do to keep the dream alive.
After some reflection I believe overall that there is a growing consciousness about the evils of racism, but there must be a change of heart that can only come through personal prayer and worship. Compassion is the greatest gift we can give to each other as human beings and I hope that I can in some small way give this gift to others. A part of my dream is that activists, legislators and all good people will continue to step up to the plate and work for social justice. Following the Supreme Court decision to make changes in the Voting Rights Act two months ago, there continues to be an outpouring of rage. This reaction would never have happened fifty years ago. The President spoke out and promised he would strengthen a key part of the Voting Rights Act. This would never have happened fifty years ago. The Urban League has called for a thorough federal investigation of violations of civil rights and hate crimes and certainly this would never have happened fifty years ago.
Sister Katherine and other Sisters of Mercy were asked to share their dreams. Here’s what they said:
- My dream, somewhat shattered, moving into the future, is one of continued hope and promise inspired by Dr. King’s prophetic words: “that one day this nation will rise up, and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'” – Sister Katherine M.
- My dream is that another charismatic leader will take MLK as a model. He trained demonstrators in nonviolence and when arrested fasted and prayed that his own heart would be right with God. – Sister Anne P.
- My dream for the future is for a nonviolent society in which everyone is treated with dignity and no one uses bullets to resolve conflicts. – Sister Anne P.
- My dream of justice moving into the future is to continue my Pro-Life activities in Iowa, in the U.S. and in our world. – Sister Lucy F.
- My dream is to continue to work with Anti-Trafficking agencies like the International Catholic Migration Commission. – Sister Lucy F.
- I have a dream that in my lifetime we will give up violence, hatred and greed, and be able to celebrate the rich and abundant diversity that is the planetary community. May it be so! – Sister Cynthia S.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM?
Comment below and share your dream with us.