Martin Luther King Now and Forever Speech

Here is a speech that I gave a few years ago at a Martin Luther King Jr event. I wrote and delivered the speech in front of 400 people.  To watch the speech click here and go to the 27 minute mark. 

Martin Luther King Jr. is an anomaly today. A force, an energy that has lasted for more than half a century. We all know about his historic speeches. Alive or not. The Phrase “Free at Last, Free at Last Thank God almighty we’re free at last” is engrained in our memory forever. The march on Washington was historic and changed the way people look at the civil rights movement. Demonstrations in Selma and Birmingham all will go down as some of the most important events of our time.
I was fortunate to grow up with a mother who experienced a lot of those moments as they were happening. I asked all the time as a child about what I could do to make a difference. The answer was always to be myself, respect my heritage and to do something big. 

With the greatness of Martin Luther King Jr established, Where does that leave my generation?  I call us the social generation. We have only attended integrated schools, I have not been held back publically because of my race. I am the first Black President of Kenosha Community Media the local TV station in town. We have only experienced what our parents or grandparents have gone through via pictures, text and video.  How can we continue to keep Dr. King’s Legacy alive, for a generation that was not even thought of at the time of his death?

I did research for a past project last year, ironically here at gateway. I found that the majority of black students surveyed in high school and middle school look at Dr. King day as a day off. Most already knew the significance of his life, while others didn’t care at all. Today’s youth know that anything is possible. Barack Obama is President, Oprah Winfrey is the best at what she does.

For today’s youth, racism is no longer an excuse for being held back. Race isn’t even an issue. I met my first black friend in high school, and I was one of his first black friends as well. We were just buddies. We didn’t connect soley because of race, we both love Pro-Wrestling.

I personally believe that Dr. King would want his message to evolve and adapt to the changing world. One where marrying interracially is not a crime, and gay marriage sees more and more acceptance. A world where we are truly judged based on the content of our character. Those from housing slums can become icons, and those from dirt roads can become heroes.

We must not forget the inequality suffered however. There are years of struggle and injustice engraved in our DNA, and in our ancestors blood.  Our mission should be to honor the struggle and to keep moving forward. We cannot get everyone to care about Dr. King’s legacy, not because they don’t respect it but because it hasn’t been their existence. Tolerance is all they’ve ever known. Of course recent media cases claim that racism is alive and well. Crazy begets Crazy. There will always be moments where doubt if change has occurred, but it has and its present everyday.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s message is now universal, it belongs to everybody. It has no color, no race just a spirit and energy that will not be extinguished. The message of peace is accepted and loved by all. Event’s like this keep Dr. King’s Message Alive for a generation that doesn’t know anything else but acceptance and love and that is a direct result of the struggle for freedom.

When I look out and I see all of you here today to pay homage to this wonderful hero of our time, I see people. I see people who want to create new memories of Dr. King and award those who refuse to forget. Together we can keep this message alive by being living examples of what Martin Luther King Jr. wanted, to remember the struggle and to stand up when hate mongers and peace detractors try to change what is now deep-rooted in our souls and in law.

Lets not rest on our laurels but continue to innovate and break new ground. This is the most exciting time in history. We have the tools to connect like never before, the ability to become president, write a work of art and paint masterpiece, to start your own talk show, to love or be loved freely, to serve God, or whatever religion you believe with gratitude and exuberance, the ability to change the world. It is all at the very grasp of our finger tips. This social generation I promise you wants it so bad. they want to shake the world again, and again and again. That is what Dr. King Would have wanted. That is a legacy that will live today and forever. Thank you very much.


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