"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
When I heard those words in 1963, they had an unusual effect on me--probably because they meant something that I could understand.
As I looked around me growing up in Chicago, Illinois, I had heard my share of racism, bigotry, prejudice, sexism and hatred coming from adults and I could not understand any of it.
What did these other people do to deserve this kind of talk?
I heard it against Blacks. Against Jews. Against the Polish. Against Women. Against Puerto Ricans.
By the time I got to high school in California I also heard it against Hispanics, Italians and the Irish.
When the "equality for all" political movements really took shape in the late 60's and early 1970's, I figured it would take 5-10 years to change the minds of most Americans to come around.
It took quite a bit longer than expected. Bigotry is learned and sometimes runs deep.
You could actually feel it happening in the air in America in 2007. A majority of Americans now judge you on the content of your character and not on your race, creed, ethnicity and religion.
The fact that both a woman and a black man are major candidates for President says a lot.
It's taken 45 years--Happy Birthday Martin--Your Dream Has Finally Come True!