Monday morning, I was fortunate enough to experience the empowering symbolism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Freedom Marches.
I left my home quite early on this morning to attend Denver’s traditional Martin Luther King, Jr. marade. Mayor Wellington Webb pointed out to the gathered masses of people that “marade” was the intended title of the morning’s event and not an unintentional spelling blooper. Mayor Webb explained that because we were gathered to demonstrate our support of Dr. King’s quest for civil liberties with a march and in a parade-like celebration, the festivities were being dubbed a marade.
With great honor, I filed in behind hundreds of people as we began our march through the usually traffic-packed streets of downtown Denver. Some drummed, some carried carefully lettered banners and signs, some chanted and some, like myself, simply walked in a reflective silence.
One of the most powerful characteristics of this event was the fact that the participants themselves were a representation of a great deal of diversity. I saw multiple generations of individual families, grandparents, parents, and children. Some people were assisted by crutches, some by canes and others rode in wheelchairs. I observed biracial couples and multicultural families. Some people marched as social activists, some as political hopefuls, and most as concerned citizens.
I marched because, at the times when I’m not plagued by nightmares induced by the current state of affairs in our world, I share Dr. King’s great dream. I believe that someday we might all be privilege to the peace and harmony of equality. I believe that someday we will learn to treat one another with respect and dignity. I believe that someday we will all recognize the true value of cooperation and compassion. I believe that together, we have the power to make today that someday.
My participation in Monday’s march served as a very potent and much needed dose of optimism. As I marched alongside brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, I suddenly remembered that the world is in our hands. We have the power to make it a better place. In fact, not only do we have the power, but we have an obligation, a responsibility to make it a better place.
I encourage each of you to take an active interest in your communities and in the world around you. We must each accept the responsibility to be the change we expect to see in our world. We live currently in a time with great potential for positive change. We, as the people of a global society, have reached a fork in the road of human existence. We must now choose to continue on toward Dr. King’s dream together, as a powerful force or falter in our division.
Veronica Garcia is a senior majoring in sociology.