I am reminded every year of Dr. Martin Luther Kings Jr.’s speech, “I Have A Dream.” It is especially impactful for me because I had the privilege of being present in Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. It was a profound experience that still inspires me to work at achieving equality and justice for all. 

Although Dr. King, who committed his life to marching to eliminate inequalities, would be pleased with some of the progress that has been made as we celebrate his legacy, we know that much still needs to be done.

There are obvious areas of concerns challenging us, starting with the local community tragedy that resulted in a loss of a young man's life. A quote of Dr. King is appropriate: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Injustices seem to stick with us: living wages, adequate housing, poverty, homelessness, immigration issues such as the DACA, affordable health insurance, challenges with voting rights, collective bargaining, reduced funding for schools, and women’s rights. These are daunting challenges that many Americans face each and every day.

However, if we believe in the vision and actions of Dr. Martin Luther King, we need to again commit ourselves to continue his efforts to keep the dream alive. Dr. King would again be finding ways to make changes in our community, the state and nationally. Dr. King said: “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty of bad people but the silence over that by good people."

I encourage everyone to take the time to read Dr. King's speech “I Have a Dream.” Then reflect on what action each of us can take to promote the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to live out the principle of racial equality and non-violent social change. (check out Visioning a Greater Racine).

Barney Nelles



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