As our nation reflects on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, I think of my now 15-year old niece, Makayla and the card she gave me when she was 8 years old for Valentines Day – my birthday – and Black History Month (all celebrated in February).
When I opened the envelope, I saw a picture of three girls and two women representing me, my sister, and three of my nieces with faces colored with different flesh tones representing the diversity of our skin color from the palest white to caramel mocha.
On the inside next to a picture of herself, Makayla wrote in big letters: “Happy Family Day Aunty Lynne! We are living the dream. Thank you Martin! Love, Makayla”.
And in some ways our family and extended family is living Dr. King’s dream. “I have a dream that one day, … little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” stated Dr. King and in our family circle we do.
At a family party, a friend of my 9-year old nephew asked if every one on the lawn was his family. Joey looked around and said, “Yup that’s my family.” Gathered on the lawn were black men and white men, black women and white women and children, the offspring of the adults gathered, black, white and the tannish children, who our society doesn’t quite know what to call. I never much liked mulatto or mixed race. I guess I prefer biracial as opposed to other if we must check a box. Really I much prefer Tiger Wood’s word of comblination because it is a word he created from the vantage point of a child.
That is my dream that all Americans view each other with a child’s vantage point of kindness and acceptance. Then it wouldn’t matter if we are Native Americans, African Americans, European Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Americans whose ancestors were here when the first white man arrived on the shores of what we now call America, Americans whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower, Americans whose ancestors came over in the dark bowels of slave ships, Americans whose ancestors came from all over the globe arriving in America through Ellis Island, or Americans whose ancestors crossed the border between Mexico and America. All that would matter is that we are Americans doing our best to fulfill Dr. King’s dream.