Letters to Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Written and Presented by Hopedale school students at the
                      2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Observance in Hopedale

                                                                                                                                                              January 10, 2007

Dear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,

   Years have passed, times have changed, and great leaders have come and gone. At the dawn of a new era, you eloquently delivered a speech and said, "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.'" I hope you look down on the human race from heaven and smile, for although the United States and the world continue to face many problems; we have taken several giant steps, which come close to achieving your dream. 

   While you are no longer with us in a physical form, your spirit of freedom envelops all those who continue to live your dream. Remembering you on this auspicious day reminds all of us that the power of change comes from within the depths of our own hearts, and that we must all be united in order to bring true equality and harmony to our earth. 

   In many areas of life, prejudice and racism remain. Derogatory comments towards women and those of diverse origins pollute our music and media. Constant news of soldiers and innocent civilians dying appear endlessly across television screens. Many have lost their lives in attempts to create a safer, secure world.  In spite of everything, the quest for humanity goes on. Talk of drugs, violence, and alcohol occasionally fill the hallways of our schools, and it causes one to think, "What has happened here?"

    We have entered a new millennium and it seems as though many of the young generation have lost sight of the greatness of the world.  They are turning their focus to materialistic objects. Yet, there are still the courageous few who dare to challenge what is going on in society, and for that Dr. King, you should be proud.

   Our media and press may project an ugly, sinister view of Earth, but there are truly remarkable things happening which continue to fuel the torch that you have already lit. Children of different ethnicities and backgrounds can attend school together, have equal opportunities, and can even be friends. Messages of peace, love, and laughter waft through the air like a warm summer breeze. Equal rights apply to men, women, and children, all of whom are guaranteed fairness in all aspects of life. New technologies that save and extend lives are constantly being created, and many ill children are granted wishes beyond their wildest dreams because of wonderful corporations like the My Wish Foundation. 

   Your dream lives on in America and in the world. A fierce and violent regime was toppled in a distant Middle-Eastern land, giving way for the rebirth of a new democracy. And, for the first time ever, the Massachusetts has recently welcomed its first African-American governor to protect our state?s best interests. There is even talk of a female or an African American presidential candidate in the upcoming 2008 election!

   So you see Dr. King, the human race is not and never will be perfect. We will struggle with difficult and heartbreaking circumstances for decades to come. Yet the passion that burned inside your soul continues to inspire the rest of us to keep going. Some days, I see the world as a cruel and vicious ocean, constantly trying to suppress those who are fighting the force that is pulling them under. Then I think of you, and your message to keep trying even when the going gets rough. Your legacy will never be forgotten, Dr. King, because even in these trying times, we take a few moments to remember that we should all continue to dream your dream. And with everyone working for equality, justice, love, and peace, we will soon reach the day when "All of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'"

                                                                                                                                                 Sharmila Jai Kumar


  If I had been standing among the 300,000 people listening to Dr. King's speech, my eyes would have been opened to the problems in our country at that time in our history.  "I Have a Dream" conveys the need for freedom and equality.  Dr. King did not live to see his dream come true.  However, he did have the chance to inspire others to believe and understand.  Dr. King's ability to deliver such a strong and inspiring message initiated such changes in so many peoples' lives.   His legacy lives on in each of us today.

   Today, racism is still present in our country, our towns, and our communities.  If only we could live in a place where things people disagree over do not start wars and result in the killing of innocent people.  If only we could live in a place where children are not brought up with messages of hate, racism, and violence.  But, sadly, this is the world we live in. We do live in a world where, in some places, violence, killing, and hate are things that are experienced everyday. We have come so far in so many ways, but there is still so much work to be done.  There is hope.  By keeping Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message alive, we are working to achieve his hope of a racism-free place in which to live.  

   Dr. King stood for peace, equality, justice, freedom, and non-violence. He wanted freedom and equality for his people so badly that he was willing to risk his own life to better those of other suffering people.  He and his message should not be forgotten. 

    Without the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, the United States would not have made so much progress on the road of a racism free country.  King said, "I have a dream that one day...little black boys and little black girls will be able to hands with little white boys and little white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers."  These words from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech, for most part have been realized.  Looking around today, skin color is not so much the focus of attention.  People of all ages are now more tolerant and understanding of differences among fellow people.  

   On November 7, 2006, Massachusetts elected its first black governor, Deval Patrick.  Patrick is one of the only two black governors in the history of the United States to ever be elected into office.  Without his efforts, the United States may never have seen an African American governor, and now, we the people of Massachusetts have achieved it.  It has taken 40 years, but we have gotten there, and Dr. King's dream is this much closer to being fulfilled.  

   On this day of celebration and remembrance, we need to come together to incorporate Dr. King's dreams into our daily lives.  If we live as he suggested, future generations can enjoy a more peaceful world   We have the power to make his hopes and his dreams a reality.     

                                                                                                                                    Rose Burberry Martin


Dear Dr. King, 

   It has been forty-four years since you delivered your inspirational "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Since then we have made great strides and come a long way. It no longer matters whether you are man or woman or black or white. For the most part, we are all equal in all things.  Many of our accomplishments in the past forty years are due to you. Dr. King, you have truly helped to make the world a better place.

   Even after all the strides we have taken as a nation to rid ourselves of prejudice, we still have not reached the promise land. Prejudice still faces many people around the world today.  Religion, ethnic background, and still the color of ones skin are looked upon negatively by some. Because of stereotypes many people are mocked and ridiculed.  One example of this is the fate of people of the Muslim faith. Because of wars in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and the acts of terrorists groups around the world, many people automatically think that all Muslims are radicals.  Most of these innocent Americans have not even traveled to the Middle East and have been Americans for many generations. 

   Dr. King, thank you for all that you have given to the world. You have helped to make the world a better place and your legacy will live on into the future. However, there still much that we must do ourselves. If everyone in the world could follow in your footsteps, we would live in a much better place.  We cannot correct the wrongs that we have committed in the past, but can make the future a better place to live. We celebrate this day and honor you and in doing so we remind ourselves that we have to carry your dream into the future so that it can be realized by all. Dr. King, Thank you. 

                                                                                                                                            Eric Brown


   Peace  It started as a seed, drowned by other trees in a meadow where no dreams were to be seen.  Faithless journeys the seed would take.   Hope-there is none for the meager.

    It grows, as slavery is destroyed, but the races are still separate.  The seed has grown to a small, yet frail sapling.  Hope is almost lost until one man comes. 

   Martin Luther King Jr. fights with words of truth and love.  He battles and almost wins.  He cared for the sapling, and now it is a small tree. 

   The races have put aside their differences and halted the war.  It is a medium sized tree now.  But other wars awaken because of religion.  Everyone must take action, and do their part. 

   In the future, the tree will be the tallest in the meadow.  It had a chance, seized it, and gave 110% of its effort, to reach fairness and equality.  The world will soon be the place He says it ought to be.  Peaceful.  Tranquil.  The biggest tree in the meadow because of one little fragment of hope and truth.    One... Little... Seed.

                                                                                                                                      Luke Jackson

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