Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressing crowd of demonstrators outside the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963. Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection—Getty Images
Dr. King said a lot more than “I Have a Dream” but we shouldn’t miss the significance of the dreamer. Dreams are the root of Black Power. In a world in which Black people are oppressed and often without hope, it is the power of a dream that keeps us alive and striving. There can be no progress, no unity and no forward motion, without a dream. Dear Black people, never let anyone take away your ability to dream.
When the media tells you that “Black on Black” crime is the rule, unconditional love and unity amongst Black people must rule the day. That reality must first be seen in the mind, in order to be actualized. When poverty screams that entrepreneurship isn’t possible, a dream must inspire the imagination to press towards freedom. When every tangible circumstance presented to your family indicates there is no way out, the power of a dream inspires hope. Your job may fire you and creditors may continue to call but no one can stop you from replaying a dream in your heart. Let that loop play over and over, until you begin to move towards it.
Dream, Black people, dream on. Dream until you become convinced that your life should align with the dream. Dream until you know for sure that your current reality is simply unfit for you. There is absolutely nothing impossible for Black people and every possibility must begin with a dream. To dream is a revolutionary act and one that Dr. King, a political revolutionary, taught us well. There are possibilities beyond what you see daily but none of them are visible, until you begin dreaming. In a world full of fear, don’t be afraid to dream.
Dreaming, for Black people, isn’t an empty exercise of futility. Dreaming is not only a survival mechanism but a pathway to liberation. Yes, Black Power is the destination but the departure point is a dream. In honor of Dr. King, Black people, please dream.