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Dreams Still Matter

by Melissa Brunner

Politics aside, there was something awe-inspiring about the sea of American flags waving across the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Monday morning. To me, it was a sign of unity that brought to mind a man who appeared on the opposite end of the Mall in 1963, delivering a call to unity while outlining his dream.

Pres. Obama held the festivities for his second inaugural on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. The symbolism of this is not lost - the country's first black President, taking a ceremonial oath for this second term on the day set aside to honor a man who dream of living in a nation where people would "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

But Dr. King's dream goes beyond black and white. It is about all people being treated with respect and being treated as equals. Over the past week, local school resource officers have been delivering this message to area students, explaining how Dr. King's dream relates to their lives today in the form of bullying. No one should be mistreated - or mistreat another person - based on the clothes they wear or the way they speak or in what part of town they live.

This is just one area in which Dr. King's dream still matters. It matters in standing up for those who, perhaps, are unable to stand up for themselves. It matters, because, as he wrote, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

I keep a quote from Dr. King close as I do my job. He once said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." In a world where Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo seem to grab more headlines than the local elections, funding mental health services, sheltering the homeless, educating children and a host of other issues, we must guard against letting ourselves escape too far into someone else's "reality," while ignoring the world around us.

The dream still matters because it's a dream about the world in which you would like to live. It's about taking a stand for what you believe is right, no matter which side of the issue you might fall. And it's about taking that stand while treating others with dignity and respect.

Without dreams, we have no where to go, nothing for which to reach. We become complacent with the way things are, forgetting they can be better. I'm pretty happy with my life and think we live in a great community with great people. But I won't stop dreaming. I won't stop believing greater things can be in store for each and every one of us.

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