Keeping the Dream Alive

I usually like to watch a couple of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speeches on this day, as well as ponder the meaning of his life, his words, and his actions. I still get teared up when I watch “I Have a Dream,” not just for the content, but for the passion of a public figure that sometimes seems to me like something we will never recover. In an era when our idols are movie stars and sports figures, it seems almost quaint that a man who worked for the betterment of the poor and downtrodden was celebrated and looked up to by large segments of the population.

So I ponder the meaning of words like service, activism, mission, and humanity. And I think about what small bit of difference I can make in a world that seems to have gone overwhelmingly off-track in terms of almost every human value.

Maybe I’m uncharacteristically pessimistic today, but I am humbled by the legacy of a person who lived his life for others, not a saint, but a human being who cared deeply about the human condition.

My favorite MLK quote is always a toss-up between:

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” and

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.”

I like this one I saw on Facebook today:

“The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood.”

And this one is worth thinking about as well:

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Sobering, yes. But always spoken with belief in humanity and the future.

What are you doing to observe MLK’s legacy? What are some of your favorite quotes? Please share in the Comments section.


  1. Marie-Josée says

    Thank you, Angela, for this thought provoking and uplifting post. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed (and frankly ressentful) lately by all the responsibilities that go hand in hand with living in a coop. It seems it’s always the same small group of people who are committed and involved… MLK’s words inspire me to continue to be a leader in our coop, as both my husband and I contribute in a significant manner, which will, in the long run, allow other people to benefit from the great housing arrangement that coops provide (low rent, community, cooperation). Thanks again.

    • Angela says

      Marie-Josee, Thanks for your comment. I’m sure it can get difficult at times when you see that some people just naturally take advantage of situations, but luckily most people I think do want to contribute. I’m sure it takes a certain amount of patience to live in a coop. At the same time, I think it’s a great option, and it’s always good to have options. I recently heard a radio story about how in places like Spain and Italy there is almost no rental housing so young adults have to either live with their parents or save enough to buy a home, there is almost no other alternative.

      Thanks as always for your participation.

  2. Lilypad says

    Here’s a quote I saw yesterday which really resonated with me: ”
    Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “A heart full of grace”—that’s just such a wonderful idea, something I see in my son, and something that gives me hope for the human race. If only more of us looked up to people like him instead of sports stars, as you said. Thanks for a great post.

    • Angela says

      Lilypad, Ah, that’s a great one. I hadn’t heard it. Thanks so much for sharing it. It is indeed beautiful, and so true.

      I love when young people give us hope for the human race. I’m noticing that a lot lately.

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