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In honor of King, students write about their dreams and his legacy

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., local middle school students were asked to answer the question, “What is your dream for America?”

Elementary school students were asked to answer the question, “How has Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream benefited me?” 

Here is the second and final installment of  winning essays, which were shared at the Hefner VA Medical Center chapel on Jan. 11. The first installment was published in the Post on Feb. 16.  

What Is Your Dream for America?

“My dream for America is to have no violence and have people treated like everybody should be treated.

I dream that one day people will wake up and realize that everybody was created the same as them and that they should be treated equally. It is sad to me that every day people are getting killed, and it is sad that every time my grandmother turns on the news it talks about a child getting killed, raped and abused, especially when it says that a child was killed by their brother or sister.

You also hear about stores getting robbed, a house getting broken into, or someone being robbing somebody.

My dream for America is to have peace in the world and people being treated right. I want people to feel safe to live where they are and they don’t have to worry about somebody trying to kill them, rob them, break into their homes. It is sad that some cities, towns, or countries are known to be in the top 10 most dangerous places for violence and other things.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr dream is for all people to enjoy freedom and equal rights. Today the struggle remains for all do not enjoy freedom nor equal rights. He spoke of love, peace, and non-violence, but today a verbal argument will get you killed. My dream is to be a part of the solution to assist with ending violence and use love to change the world.”

— Makayla Shaw, sixth grade, Corriher-Lipe Middle School

“Have you ever had a dream? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream. He dreamed that his four kids would be able to go to school with white people and be treated equal. He was a very brave man. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led many marches when he knew that they would get hurt. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was nonviolent, however, others weren’t. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., faced many obstacles in life that no one could ever imagine. This is why I believe that he is such an honorable man whom we celebrate every year. My dream for America is that we strive to be better individuals in society and treat each other with respect and dignity no matter the color of one’s skin.

It is important that we all remember Dr. King’s dream and the legacy that he left as a reminder to us all in America. I am grateful to my parents that they taught me at a young age to respect all people and that all people are created equal. Equal in the schools, equal in the workplace, equal in the community and equal in this nation. Even throughout the year, we must not forget this common ground of admiration for Dr. King’s dream as we live our daily lives interacting with individuals of different backgrounds and beliefs. It is my dream for America that we continue to reflect on Dr. King’s life and the positive life lessons that we can learn from the history a half-century later.

I have been fortunate to be able to do a presentation on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s life and his legacy at my school. We were able to choose a project honoring notable individuals from the past. When the teacher gave us the assignment, I already knew who I was going to do my project on because I had been taught about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a young boy from my grandparents and parents. My teacher thought that I had made an outstanding choice and I made an “A” on my project.

Yes, I do have a dream for America. I have a dream that black people and all races are treated equal in America despite one’s skin color. I have a dream that all races can go to school together and learn together to make America a great place for all people.

I think that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the best civil rights leaders in the world. Dr. King was a champion of great principles. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an outstanding leader, teacher and preacher. My dream for America is to help continue Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy by positively changing the world and the vision of many people.”

Damian Andrew Brandon, sixth grade, Salisbury Academy

“My dream for America is for all people to come together into one unit again. Every day the news reports incidents of violence, murders and shootings. We are stressed by these events and our fears of other countries bombing us and the threat of a nuclear world war. It is sad that we do not realize that others do not have to kill us because we are killing ourselves.

I hear people saying, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ but all lives matter. Skin color does not define you or give you value. Dr. King’s dream taught us that no color was to be valued over another and as our constitution states we “…Are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights.” Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement fought to make those words and liberties true for all people. Through the Civil Rights movement Dr. King ‘s dream came true in many ways, but there is still work to be done to make his dream a full reality.

His dream was realized in that there were to be no more separation in schools, no more ‘For blacks or whites’ signs in places. People could go to school, eat, work and travel when and where they wanted. They could be friends with each other and everything was equal. There is a saying that is starting to come into reality which is “What happened back then is gonna happen again.” I believe this saying because the gains of the Civil Rights movement are bleeding away. Blacks and whites are growing apart with lack of respect, caring and love for each other. Racial prejudice is seen every day in our communities and businesses. Why can’t we live together in peace? At this point in time races should not mean anything because many people are mixed with many races. People are not realizing that every race is contributing something to this society and economy.

I have friends of many racial and ethnic backgrounds and I would not want to lose them due to segregation and separation. I love the things Dr. King taught and fought for: equality, justice and freedom for all people. I do not want to lose them because of other people’s behaviors and negative thinking. If black lives really matter we must stop killing each other. Not just blacks but whites as well for crime is increasing in all segments of our country. No one is perfect and we must show love and tolerance. Poverty or disappointment does not give you the right to take someone’s life or future.

As I said at the beginning my dream for America is to be one nation of and for the people. My part in making this dream come a reality is to be part of the solution and not the problem.”

Aniyah Ingram, seventh grade, North Rowan Middle School

How has Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream benefited me?

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a compassionate man who changed many peoples lives. His “I Have a Dream” speech motivated his fellow black Americans to use peaceful demonstration, rather than violence, to bring attention to inequality. At that time, blacks were separated from whites. They had to go to different schools, use different bathrooms, stores and had to sit in designated places when eating at restaurants or sitting on the bus. Dr. King wanted his children to be judged by their actions, not by their skin color. Laws were changed in 1964 that gave African Americans more equal treatment.

Dr. King’s dream benefits me today in many different ways. He showed compassion towards others. I have learned that is is important to help others as well. On the fourth Saturday of each month, I go to the homeless shelter with my dad and grandfather to help cook and serve breakfast. I do this for the community. I feel that even when people are going through tough times, they should treated with respect. Dr. King stood up for what he believed in and never gave up even when he was arrested or beaten for his protests. He has encouraged me to stand up for others at school if they are being bullied or left out. Being perseverant has helped me in the classroom and on the baseball field. Whenever I am in a batting slump, instead of being down, I hit the batting cages. If I gave up, my skills would not improve.

Martin Luther King Jr. was killed on his hotel balcony in Memphis, Tenn. on April 4, 1968. This was a sad day in history, but his legacy still lives on today.”

Nathan Hayworth, fifth grade, Faith Elementary

“Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream benefits me because I am able to be free and received education that I can fulfill my dreams as anyone else.

Dr. King’s dream allowed me to sit where I want to, play with who I want to and express my thoughts like I want to. I don’t have to fight every day because of different skin color or be told to get on the back of the bus or go to the back of the building to get something to eat.

I can play with my white friends and call them on the phone and even go to their houses and they come to mine too.

Dr. King’s dream benefits me, but it benefits all of America because the world is not a better place. People don’t think about racism and hate like back then, but they mostly think about doing good for someone else or helping someone who needs help.

I have some friends who are good people, and they are not black or white. They are Hispanic, and some are asians. And they are great people. We go to school together and we play together, and they don’t judge me.

Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream should benefit all of us, even the older ones, too, because it means less fighting and fussing and separation.

Part of Dr. King’s dream mentioned not being judge by the color of my skin but by the content of my character. That means that if I am a good person and I do the right thing and treat others right, then my character should be judged first. Dr. King’s dream has benefits because I can be given the same rights to life, liberty and happiness as anyone else, just like the Declaration of Independence said, that all men will be created equal.”

Tja’lyza Walker, Third Creek Elementary School

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