I knew true greatness the moment I heard him speak. Though too young to be aware of the race riots and wars being fought around me in the 1970's, I knew his fight for equality would be my own.
Today numerous people of all races and religions can participate in a country where they could only dream before, including the White House. His dream has led us so far, we now have the luxury of arguing if the majority of us are discriminated against.
An optimist by choice, I know how easily we can change the world to suit our views. We have come so far, it is easy to become complacent. In his letter from the Birmingham jail, Martin Luther King, Jr. said complacency and hate are the enemies of progress. If we are content to accept the world as it is today, we will never achieve greatness. We give our children a world that is merely good enough. I am not happy with just good enough. Our children should not be allowed to inherit a world where life is good, if you are one of the chosen. Half of my life has been spent working with kids who live on the fringes. This world is not good enough for them.
I have a dream that all the world's children will have a safe home. Being homeless is not a seven- year-old's dream. I won't argue whose fault it is. I will only give them food and some semblance of safety while they are with me for eight hours we have together each day.
I have a dream that we will celebrate love in all its glory. I will not argue about the choice of homosexuality. One of my most precious loves is willing to cut her body to shreds to change it. It is not good enough to leave her a world that offers that kind of self-loathing, choice or not.
I have a dream that we will accept people whether they are born here or not. Immigration arguments are pointless when a twelve-year-old girl just left her father and sisters behind in Mexico after her grandmother's funeral. She sobs as she begs me not to tell, for fear they will send the rest of her family away.
I have a dream that we communicate without the barriers of language. I have seen a man reduced to tears because he couldn't speak English and no one would help him register his son. The vulgarities people said after he left still haunt me.
I dream that we stop killing people because we are afraid of differences that make us feel threatened. Travon Martin's life speaks more loudly than my words ever could.
The day my hero shared his dream, he was ten years younger than I am today, but I will not let the dream die. We must turn our vision outward to others. As so many great people have told us before, this is the way to peace. We must stop keeping score of who has more. This terrestrial world is finite; we will never have enough when we are focused on ourselves. We are spirit. We must recognize the humanness in all of us, not the surfaces that hide us from each other. Love is the only thing that fills the void.
I have a dream that my children and I will stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, 100 years from Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream and 200 years from Lincoln's dream, to gaze on a world that truly has liberty and justice for all of us.