Never stop trying to achieve MLK's dream

by Derrick Graham
Stripes Guam

Freedom was the poem that I wrote for and read at a Martin Luther King Jr. observance in January. The main focal point of the poem was to identify with the struggles, hatred, pain, tears and triumphs of Dr. King.  Acknowledging his contributions every year is truly significant.  

In his speech, Dr. King mentioned that he would like for every person to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. I referred to this statement in my poem because I wanted people to embrace his sentiment.  

When it appeared that he didn’t have the answer, he still spent time alone to think about the issues.  I imagined that he was in deep meditation while trying to figure out the best way of deliverance to our nation.  He also spoke about having the constitutional right to vote, another problematic issue during the time.

Towards the end of the poem, I wanted to bring home that we, as people, have made excellent strides since his speech.  Although, we still have a long way to go, the wheels of progress are slowly turning. Changes have been implemented because people have been willing to sacrifice for this nation.  

Today, we still have issues that we need to improve but it’s still a wonderful place to live.  It will never be perfect, but that should never stop any of us from trying.


I stand here before you today
To honor Dr. Martin Luther King
For all the sacrifices he made
Because he had a dream

If I could speak to him now
There’s a lot I would want to say
Like thank you for your contributions
That has shaped America today

You have broken down many barriers
You have opened our hearts and minds
You emphasized the importance of unity
And to work through those difficult times

You have displayed great compassion
For the rights of all women and men
You have placed your life in danger
Time and time again

When the world was not-so pleasant
Filled with conflict and strife
You continued to strive for equality
While pursuing a better way of life

I imagined Dr. King was baffled
Lying awake late at night
Contemplating with this conundrum
That plagued our human rights
Why wouldn’t the world accept?
A person’s character or content within
Why should anyone be denounced?
Because the color of their skin

But somewhere in this nation
It seemed America began to believe
A change was on the verge  
In 1963

Dr. King didn’t have the answer
But he devised a momentous plan
That would change millions of lives
All across this land

I imagined he went into a room
A quiet place somewhere in his home
Where his thoughts began to unravel
As he meditated all alone

He thought about the suffering
The injustice his eyes have seen
All the hatred and the pain
Caused by human beings

He was reminded of a nation
That signed a promissory note
That guaranteed women and men
Their civic right to vote

Dr. King knew it was time
For the world to take a stand
To abolish the chains of discrimination
For every woman and man

Millions gathered from all over
For the entire world to see
One of the largest political rallies
The March on Washington DC

Before Dr. King left the podium
His dream finally came to past
As he looked at the crowd and said
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty,
We are free at last!

- Derrick Graham


Read a related article: African-American History Month: Remembering those who served proudly

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