I humbly ask Dr. King’s forgiveness for borrowing from his eloquence and for the meager quality of my own words as I draw from his gift to us, one of the most transcendent speeches in our history. All generations after him will be asked to tell about their dreams for our world. Here are some of mine.
Our futures are inextricably bound together. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always walk forward. We cannot turn back.
Whenever local, state, and federal governments and the schools within our communities give us and our children so little and then tell us to be satisfied that we even get that, let us say, “We are not satisfied, and we shall not be satisfied until every child has a fair chance to realize their potential and all prejudice is washed away by the tidal wave of our determination and love.”
Let us invest ourselves fully in our families, go into our communities, and do the hard work that has to be done and not wallow in the valley of despair.
Though we face the difficulties of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I still have a dream.
I have a dream that our children will not be judged by what they can or cannot do but valued for who they are, just as they are.
I have a dream that whenever someone either cannot or is not allowed to speak up for themselves, the very stones in the ground shall cry out and we will all stand and proclaim the immeasurable worth of all.
I have a dream that all persons with disabilities will be treated as equals and afforded equal rights and access in every aspect of their lives.
I have a dream that all children will be treated with respect and provided the education and services they need to express their gifts to the fullest.
I have a dream that wherever injustice is committed against an innocent child that we will respond tenfold with unity, conviction, and action.
I have a dream that people will have access to the vocational training and assistance needed to work and live independently and follow the path they feel called to.
I have a dream that schools will not have to hold bake sales and raffles to pay the bills and that teachers won’t have to buy supplies from the money in their own pockets.
I have a dream that teachers and therapists will be valued and paid at a level nearer to all the miracles they perform everyday.
I have a dream that more money will be spent on services and support for both children and adults.
I have a dream that whenever any of us begins to fall there will always be another to help them back up again.
I have a dream that instead of judging we will take the time to understand.
I have a dream that what unites us will be stronger than what divides us.
I have a dream that we will always be thankful for those who started on this path before us so that we might have faith that we can walk the road that still lies ahead of us.
I have a dream that no one will ever again be forced to choose between getting care and services for their children or buying food.
I have a dream that everyone’s voice shall be heard, regardless of whether it comes out of their mouths, their hands, a computer, or a picture board.
I have a dream that where so many now see despair, damage, and burden that we can instead all discover and proclaim hope, beauty, and opportunity.
I have a dream today.