BY HEATHER MENG, DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC SUCCESS CENTER, DIVERSITY OFFICER
Usually when we speak about dreams, we think of all of our plans for the future. How can I be successful? Maybe it’s living comfortably, or saving for an exciting family vacation, or continuing your education through one of Northland’s diverse academic programs. Or maybe we think of one particular famous dream, made famous by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who we remember the third Monday each January.
Younger generations may wonder: who was Dr. King, and why is there a holiday named for him? Some may remember him as a civil rights activist who peacefully led the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Others thank him for increasing voting access. Still others remember a young man in his 20 and 30s who passionately gave back to his community.
To get a clearer picture, let’s take a closer look at a few excerpts from Dr. King’s famous dream:
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
Ah, the American dream. It’s what has brought immigrants to our borders for hundreds of years. It’s what those living in poverty hope to achieve. It’s the hope of every relentless mother or father who works two or three jobs to provide a better life for their children. A dream shared regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, religion or disability.
I have a dream 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.”
But do we really follow this creed? To decide, we need to review what equality looks like. Equality means having the same status, rights, and opportunities as our peers.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Take a moment to reflect on the following questions:
Have others regularly assumed I am a spokesperson for my racial identity, my religious group, or my gender?
Will I be questioned if I ask to take vacation to celebrate an important holiday?
Do people assume things about me based upon common stereotypes?
For many of us reading this article, the answers are ‘no,’ but for some of our neighbors, sadly the answers are ‘yes.’ It is universal – we all want to be valued for who we are as individuals.
Many people say things are different today, more than fifty years later. Stories like that of Juba Coffee House reveal a different answer. We still have work to do.
That’s why on Monday January 18th, Northland is joining the University of North Dakota (UND) and the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) for the Red River Valley Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This FREE community event, located in Grand Forks, includes:
- 10:30-10:45 – Unity Walk from East Steps of Central High School to Empire Arts Theater
- 10:45-11:00 – Hot Beverage Service at Empire Arts Theater
- 11:00-12:00 – MLK Day Celebration Program at Empire Arts Theater
- 12:00-1:00 – Fellowship & Food
- 1:30-2:30 – Community Service Projects (Grand Forks and Crookston)
We hope to see you for one or more of the day’s events. To RSVP for our community service projects or work as an event volunteer, please sign up here. If you aren’t able to join us, please join us in spirit and consider a small act of service in your own community.