I would certainly say that we have a long way to go before we reach the ultimate dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. because we still live in a society which continues to include racism. At the same time, we must admit that we have made many gains since the day MLK gave his speech in Washington, D.C. In his speech, MLK spoke of one hundred years prior when the 13th amendment was passed by Congress abolishing slavery. Fifty years after MLK's speech, it's time to assess where we are.
If Malden was earmarked as a city to assess where we are on the road to meeting the dream of being judged by character rather than color or cultural background, I'd like to think, from my point of view, that we are leaders. Malden is and always has been a quintessential melting pot. I am a part of this melting pot everyday as a resident of Malden and as a teacher in our public schools. Some of the cultures represented in the classes I teach include children from Rwanda, Brazil, China, Haiti, Ethiopia, Morocco, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Cambodia, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam. When I look around my classroom and I observe the natural interaction of children from cultures around the world, I see evidence that the dream is being met. At the YMCA on Sunday I took notice, as I always do, of people of all different backgrounds and cultures sharing in conversations which derive from our commonalities as human beings. The conversations are about our shared experiences of work, family, worries, and humor. The common connections are evident.
If Malden is an example of what can be, then maybe, just maybe, the beginnings of MLK's dream, which is represented here in Malden, will spread. We can be an example of what happens when people put differences aside and see each other as brothers and sisters sharing one city, one nation, one world.
“When we look at modern man, we have to face the fact that modern man suffers from a kind of poverty of the spirit, which stands in glaring contrast with a scientific and technological abundance. We've learned to fly the air as birds, we've learned to swim the seas as fish, yet we haven't learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.” MartinLutherKing,Jr.