Today I re-read Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream" speech, and I'm struck by his language regarding economic freedom, as well as freedom from racial injustice...
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free...One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one.
I say to you today, my friends, 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.
Like Martin Luther King, Jr., I believe there's a great vault of opportunity. And like him, I believe we shouldn't and can't be satisfied as long as anyone's mobility is moving from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. This "ghetto" can also be in our mind. As long as you think your life can only be just one way and that your circumstances dictate your results, then you've shackled yourself into chains. And it's time to set yourself free.
Economic or Financial Freedom can level the playing field for true equality...at home between spouses, in the work place and in the world, at large. Money is power, and yes that power has been used for not so great causes. However, money has also helped in really important causes. For example, Mother Teresa was amazing at fundraising and bringing in lots of money to help the poor. Also, power, to me, just means you know where you stand and you have the means to accomplish what you want. If it means something else to you, look at your mindset around the word and the idea of power.
And yes, while having more money doesn't make you happier, it can give you more freedom, specifically, the freedom of choice.
Now, the American Dream has always been rooted in buying a home, starting a family and having a good job with a secure retirement. With the high cost of a college education, home prices continuing to go up and companies doing away with pensions, it's even more important for you and I to decide how we want our own dream life to look like. Do you truly need college for what you plan to do? If you're not sure, then enroll in a less expensive option to get your basic credits out of the way before applying to the school of your dreams. Do you truly want to buy a home, or is it just because that's what everyone else is doing? If you're planning on moving around a lot or you just love to travel, buying may not be your best option. As for retirement, what do you want it to look like? Then, look at the numbers with a qualified financial professional to put a plan in place.
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."
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. I have a dream today.
I also have a dream that people get paid for the content of their work and not for the color of their skin or for their gender. We have to be brave enough to continue to have the conversations and not keep salaries in the dark from one another. More transparency will lead to more equal pay for equal work.
I also have a dream that America becomes a nation that takes care of its tired, its poor and its huddling masses yearning to breathe free! I have a dream that health care becomes a basic human right and we join all the other first world nations to provide this human right without it costing us so much money. When our basic human needs are taken care of, then, and only then, do we feel secure enough to pursue higher thinking and create our true purpose in this life.
This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning: "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"
And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
With Love, Gratitude (for Martin Luther King's inspiring words and actions) & Freedom,
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