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
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
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