Dear Dr. King,
Your ears must be ringing since everyone’s been talking about you. The media has been playing your “I have a dream” speech over and over again.
One anecdote was of particular interest. It seems a pro basketball player who stood nearby asked if he might have your speech after you’d delivered it. Evidently you gave him the 3 pages, because he still has it.
I have no such memento of that historical day, or the faintest recollection of where I was when you spoke those famous words. It’s safe to say I probably felt as far removed from the black situation as I was the day you stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I was thousands of miles away on the island of Maui in Hawaii. You were changing history…and I didn’t bear witness.
But just as a pebble causes ever-widening ripples to occur when it hits the water’s surface, your words have affected generations of lives…for the better. And so it seems only fitting that I write you this long overdue thank you letter.
If you hadn’t stood tall for racial injustice I might not be living on…the right side of “white.”
I graduated from college, and with my degree was able to work alongside white colleagues in a number of different jobs.
My family and I have felt at home in neighborhoods predominantly populated by whites.
Our daughter has thrived in all white schools.
We can shop where we please. We can choose which theater to see a movie. We can dine where we like. We can use public restrooms without reservation. We can travel by plane, train or ship. We can overnight in a Hyatt or a Best Western. We can decide which services get our business be it the cable company, the dentist, or a contractor.
No one looks twice at my driver’s license picture. Retailers are only too happy to take my money. Pre-approved applications for credit cards always arrive in the daily mail.
I owe my quality of life to the steps you took to improve your family’s life, and the lives of other African Americans, Hispanics, Middle-Easterners, Asians…and Pacific Islanders like me.
What you did 50 years ago will continue to resonate until mankind ceases to exist.
I may have been born on the wrong side of white, but thanks to your dream of what could be…
…i’m living on the right side of white…
I kept hearing Dr. King’s name pop up as the news droned on in the background, while I went about my housekeeping these last few days. Slowly it dawned on me that this iconic man had a lot to do with the fact that I could do what I do daily, without even thinking about how I got to be where I am in my life. hugs for obviously feeling similarly… 🙂