, Muskogee, OK

August 28, 2013

We grow, we have long way to go

— Race relations in the United States have come a long way in the 50 years since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

And we have a long way to go.

But look no further than the White House to see where we stand in this journey.

A black man is the leader of the free world.

That’s an incredible advancement when you consider in King’s time, blacks were being harassed to discourage them from voting.

Segregation existed in King’s time.

Rampant discrimination existed in King’s time.

Whites were killed for trying to help blacks register to vote in King’s time.

Race relations have gotten much better but more complicated, too.

It’s not just a black-and-white issue.

The U.S. has always been a melting pot.

Sometimes the ingredients to make a great society do not always mix at first.

But we learn to grow.

This nation was founded on a concept that all men are created equal.

For decades, this nation felt that only white men were created equal.

That has changed.


For that we should all be grateful.

Opportunities exist for more people now more than ever.

We are not a completely fair nation.

We are not where we need to be.

We are not as tolerant of others as we should be.

We move closer to a nation that judges people for the content of their character.

But we still have those who judge by the color of someone’s skin.

Reflect on how far we have come.

Be proud of that progress.

But don’t rest.

We have a long way to go.

Remember to continue the journey.