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The day was August 28, 1963.  I'll never forget it.  it was a warm, beautiful summer afternoon filled with excitement.  Everyone invited was ready to share in the celebration of a lifetime which would prepare me for the years to come.  It was my twelfth birthday.  What a day.  It would be the last year I would spend as a boy anticipating the next year when I would become a "teenager".  All of my neighborhood friends were there with gifts and fun that would last the rest of the day.

Later that evening I noticed my mother and older brothers glued to the television set watching the evening news.  Thee was a large crowd of black people, with some white, gathered in Washington D.C. listening to a black man giving a speech about a dream he had.  I know of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  There were rough times for black people and being black myself, it felt kind of good to see that many people come together to hear about Dr. King's dream.  I must say in truth I didn't pay much attention because I had a dream of my own.  I wanted to become a professional baseball player as did many of my friends.

Dr. King talked about lifting our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.  I could see the excitement on the faces of the crowd, my mother and brothers as he delivered the wonderful speech.  He dreamed about a time when his four children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

How little did I realize that Dr. King's dream would move me years later to come up with a plan for racial equality and justice for all in  America.  That plan would be inspired by Dr. King's dream whose roots are based in many situations where I would be the only black person in a sea of white folk.  I would experience some very pleasant and unpleasant situations with both black people and white people.  Some white people would call me "nigger" and some black people would call me Uncle Tom (by the way, Uncle Tom was the good guy, Sambo was the traitor).

My senior year in high school is remembered by a riot where I saw my white and black friends lend themselves to the ugliness of hatred for each other.  For me, 1970 was a racially distrusting time for America.  What happened to the dream?  Did people wake up to the reality that hate and prejudice have deep roots in America, and still exist in the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Race is what we are but not who we are.  How can we get to know who we are and not spend all of our time afraid and angry about what we are?  We as a people all have the right to life and the pursuit of happiness, given to us by God.  I still believe in Dr. King's dream and because of his dream, I have a plan.

My plan is that of self determination and respect for humanity.  This plan takes on a new meaning when one desires to participate in the plan.  My plan is not to change you, no human can do that, but allow you to change.  You and I are who we are based on what we have been taught, what we have experienced and what we believe.  We may not like it, but that's YOU and that's ok.  But is it ok if YOU cause division, misery and sometimes death in your family, church, school or community?  YOU are unique and only YOU can answer that.

My plan is to actively find out who YOU are while you passively learn who I am.  My plan is to invite YOU to the 'table of humanity' and encourage YOU to share your experience as a black, white, brown, yellow, ed or whatever.  YOU, the person, have to share.  My plan is to see YOU free, so I can be free.  My plan is to exchange ideas and life in the arena of human uniqueness that allows each of us to become the best we can be.  My plan is to love YOU as much as God loves me.  We all need a plan to leave this world a lo


Cliff B. Biggers

Please contact the FOP Lodge # 127 Chaplain if you know of any sick or distressed members.



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