veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

Celebrate MLK, Watch the I Have a Dream Speech

18 Minutes is all it takes
Celebrate+MLK%2C+Watch+the+I+Have+a+Dream+Speech

I can understand enjoying a day off. Spending time with friends and family. Finishing that book or game that you’ve been meaning to. Catching up on sleep. I understand the importance of a well-needed day of rest. But the next day, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when we walk back onto campus, we should recognize why we got to enjoy that time. It isn’t a Saturday or Sunday, it’s a Monday observed in accomplishment. It’s a national holiday. 

Every third Monday of January since 1986 the United States celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year the national holiday fell on the 15th of January and students enjoyed time off from school. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was born on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He rose to fame in the ‘60s for his work in civil rights activism. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial inequality. On April 4, 1968, he was assassinated on a motel’s second-floor balcony. In 1977 he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  We have officially celebrated MLK Day in honor of him and his work since 1986.

His most notable achievement, alongside many other activists, was leading the March on Washington where he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The speech is 17 minutes and 28 seconds long. 

Out of the 525,600 minutes of the year, just 18 minutes can be spent learning about one of the greatest thinkers of all time. Though the speech isn’t solely about King’s life, or purely historical in content, the piece is arguably his greatest work. It is a speech that has stood the test of time, and unfortunately, still relates to the issues facing today’s marginalized communities. It is a piece on equality, struggle, ambition and aspiration. You don’t have to be an African American in the ‘60s to relate to it: you just have to be human. 

When I first watched the speech in its entirety, I was moved. What truly got to me was the passion in his voice when he spoke. He’s heartbroken, but he isn’t defeated. He’s disappointed, but he isn’t unmotivated. He’s strong, but he isn’t aggressive. The speech has two incredibly well-known quotes. The most famous being that of: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” The second is a famous life lesson: “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.” Though these two quotes are incredibly important and recognizable, the entire speech is worthy of a listen. 

It is important to recognize Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, and his impact on this country. It is to recognize his significance, and the strife endured by those before King came along. It is to treat the struggle endured by those same communities today with respect it deserves. 

Beyond the historical significance and powerful themes surrounding social activism, the speech is also a powerful representation of the importance of being passionate about what you believe in. It is a representation of having beliefs so strong that, not only are you willing to take time to think about them, you are willing to take the risk of sharing them. 

I implore the teachers at Oak Park High School to consider incorporating the I Have a Dream speech in their curriculum in some way. In doing so students not only learn about one of the greatest moments in American history, but students can also recognize the power of using their own voices.  

The reality is that Martin Luther King Jr. died in a passionate pursuit of equality. He will never be able to meet with students across this country, this year, the next, and so on, who express gratitude for his work. This great man avidly worked for years to achieve what seemed to be the impossible. The very least we can do to thank him is to listen. 

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About the Contributor
Charlize Ocon, Business and Communications Manager

Class of 2024

Charlize has been part of the Talon staff for 4 years. She has previously served as the Social Media Manager and enjoys writing opinion pieces.

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