Speech at Restoring Honor Rally, Washington, DC

 

Dr. Alveda King

 
  8/28/2010
 

My Dear Fellow Americans,

It’s  absolutely wonderful for Glenn to use his popularity and influence to bring us all together to focus… not on an election campaign or a political cause, but to focus on honor, and on the content of our charter and not the color of our skin.  God bless you Glenn.

47 years ago my uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., stood here and proclaimed, “I have a dream.” My parents, Rev. A. D. King and Mother Naomi were here to support Uncle Martin. I was at home with my grandparents and all of the younger children. We all knew that August 28 would be a very special day.  It was an incredible moment in history; the descendent of Irish and African ancestors speaking to the entire nation about freedom, about justice, and ultimately, about love.

Uncle Martin was a man of God and he had a servant’s heart.  He marveled not at awards he received for what he did. He rather stood in awe at what the Lord did.

He took to heart the words of Jesus in John 12:26, “If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”

So it is with those we come to honor today. They seek to honor God, they seek to serve.  The Book of Proverbs teaches us that before honor comes humility, and we celebrate and honor their lives today.

 I can only imagine what these heroes today have experienced in their own trials, even as my Uncle Martin did in his lifetime. We know how Uncle Martin labored from a cramped, roach infested jail cell; writing on the margins of an old newspaper the beginnings of his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail.  It was there, in the darkest of times that he concentrated not on his surroundings, but his service.  It was there that he wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

 It’s been decades now since Uncle Martin’s assassination.  When we think of him, we think of a bold visionary, a prophetic leader.  But he was also a man who was jailed 17 times, whose home was bombed, and who suffered taunts and threats on a daily basis.  Uncle Martin was a humble servant -- a man who was not afraid to give his life for the cause of a greater, freer America.

Today, we are here to honor special men and women who like my Uncle Martin are blessed with servants’ hearts.  Though they give their service in ways very different from Martin Luther King, Jr., like him, they are people who are not afraid to give their lives for the freedom of others. 

To use an expression of my Uncle Martin’s, these are men and women who don’t give lip service to our nation’s ideals -- they give life service.

If Uncle Martin could be here today, he would surely commend us for giving honor where honor is due. He would surely remind us that as brothers and sisters united by “one blood” in one single race, the human race, where we are called to honor God and to love each other. He would encourage us to lay aside the divisive lies that cause us to think that we are members of separate races. We are one human family.  We must not oppress each other and we must help those being oppressed. 

Forty-seven years ago, Uncle Martin compared our nation’s promise of equal protection to a check marked insufficient funds. Today, in more than one sense, America is nearly bankrupt.

Our material gains seem to be going the way of our moral losses.  We are still suffering from the great evil divide of racism.  Our children are suffering in failing school systems.  Our sons and daughters are being incarcerated at astronomical rates.  Sickness, disease and poverty of the spirit, soul and body are plaguing our communities.  The procreative foundation of marriage is being threatened, and the wombs of our mothers have become places where the blood of our children is shed in a “womb war” that threatens the fabric of our society. And the economy reflects the dearth of our nation’s moral poverty. 

Yet, we are not without hope.   Faith, hope and love are not dead in America. We still trust in God!

Our honored heroes here today bear witness that there is yet hope for the human heart.  It is time to enlist in a certain cause. Just as each individual man and woman in our military enlisted, we must commit ourselves to service – to each other and to our nation.

Oh, that the fountain can be refilled, that Heaven’s unlimited bank account can flow back to our lives here on earth. When will we know that the check Uncle Martin spoke of is good?

We will know when prayer is once again welcome in the public squares of America. We will know when our children are no longer in mortal peril on our streets and in our classrooms, and in the wombs of our mothers.  We will know when righteousness rolls down like waters, and justice like a mighty stream.

Yes, I too have a dream, I have a dream that one day soon, God’s Agape love will transcend skin color and economic status, and cause us to turn from moral turpitude. I have a dream that America will repent of the sin of racism and return to honor. I have a dream that white privilege will become human privilege and that people of every ethnic blend will receive everyone as brothers and sisters in the Love of God.  I have a dream that America will pray, and God will forgive us our sins and revive our land.

On that day, we will all be able to lift every voice and sing of the love and honor that God desires for all of his children. God bless America, and let us march on together until victory is won!