In 1963, a Baptist clergyman turned civil rights leader called Martin Luther King, Jr. rocked the American public with a poignant speech. Entitled 'I Have a Dream', it's message can be summarized with this single line - 'I have a dream that my four 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'.
While this may seem like a no-brainer to most of you today, 45 years ago, it was a radical idea in a country that was permeated with racial segregation.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929, Dr. King grew up in an environment where blacks and whites led totally separate lives - they ate at different restaurants, went to different schools and even had to sit in different areas in buses and trains.
The situation was even worse in places like Montgomery, Alabama, where Dr. King moved with his wife Coretta King, to serve as pastor of the local church in 1955. The issue finally came to a head in December that year, when a woman named Rosa Parks, refused to sit in the back section of a bus that was reserved for black people and was sent to jail as a result.
To bring justice to her, Dr. King initiated a movement to boycott all buses. The protest, which caught on throughout the nation, lasted an entire year. Finally, in 1956 the Supreme Court of the United States abolished the transportation segregation law.
However, Dr. King was not done yet - For the next ten years he went around the country encouraging people to fight against all kinds of segregation in a non-violent peaceful manner, by organizing sit-ins, boycotts and leading protest marches. His non-violent, yet effective measures earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
Sadly, Dr. King was killed by an assassin, while on a trip to Memphis, Tennessee in 1968, and did not live long enough to see his dream come true.
Today, over 40 years after his death, we still honor this great man and his passion for equality, by celebrating his life on the third Monday of every January. This not only gives us time to reflect on his life and achievements, but also, allows us to reflect on how far along we have come as a nation.
Now, we challenge you to go one step further and seek out your own dream. While it may sound impossible today, so did Dr. King's, but it sure came true didn't it?