Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Recognized as one of America's greatest leaders, King believed that all people - regardless of the color of their skin - should be awarded equal rights and access under our nation's laws. All human beings, simply because they live and breath, should have the right to work and earn an honest living for themselves and their families, the right to vote, the right to a quality education, and the right to use all public places.
In 1963, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to thousands of civil rights supporters gathered for the King-organized March on Washington. To these thousands of people Kind spoke of his dreams for our country.
"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged on the color of their skin but on the content of their character."
Today, nearly fifty years after King's powerful speech, I find myself dreaming the same dream for my children. I hope and pray they will always be evaluated by their words and actions, and that they in turn will always use words and actions to form opinions of others.
But I also hope to teach my children that our differences - from the color of our skin to our religion to our sexuality - are actually what unify us as a people. For while we are all different, it it our differences that make us essentially the same: we are all unique individuals, worthy and deserving of respect and kindness from our fellow human beings. Our differences should be celebrated instead of ignored, or worse, used to justify discrimination.
Today I will to talk to my children about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy. I hope I can find acceptable and age-appropriate answers to their questions, and that these questions go beyond the one I've already heard today - "Mama, since he was a king, did he get to wear a crown?".
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Make it a good one.