Free At Last

Today is the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech given during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.  I have been thinking all day about the American Civil Rights Movement, and the significance of Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention.

I have contemplated most today about how thankful I am for parents who exposed me to people that were different than me at a formative age.

One of my earliest memories is when I was around 3 years old and I saw an African-American family at Logan Airport in Boston, MA.  It was the first moment in my short life that I distinguished the difference between the color of my skin and the color of someone from another race.  Fearfully, I ducked my head behind the legs of my father.  I am thankful that my dad did not allow my fearful reaction to pass without making it a teaching moment.  He lovingly grabbed my hand, bent down to my level, and asked, “Isn’t that family beautiful? Don’t they have a pretty color of skin?”

My parents made time for many more teaching moments about different races and cultures during my childhood. I might be a different person today without those moments.