A Dream Reborn … Green

Forty years ago, an asassin’s bullet ended Martin Luther King, Jr’s life. www.enchantedlearning.comLeft behind has been a powerful legacy, one that has helped shift the American ethos toward something better than what might have been without King. Within his legacy are some of the most recognized words of American history …

I have a dream …

At this time, in Memphis, over 1000 people are gathered for The Dream Reborn,  a conference dedicated to commemorate the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, and to “present positive solutions for social and environmental equity from today’s generation of visionary leaders.”

Undertaken at the initiative of Van Jones and Green for All, The Dream Reborn has brought together some tremendous leaders and voices for a positive vision for how tackling the quite serious and pressing global warming and environmental challenges facing the United States (and the Globe) can foster the creation of a more prosperous and more equitable society.

Van opened the conference with a (all too typically) powerful speech that is worth reading in full.  But, from it, some choice words:

Dr. King had a vision of an America as good as its promise, and a world at peace with itself.

A vision of a more powerful, a more equitable union.  A vision for the future that could help guide the actions of today, tomorrow, and the day after.

The time has come for us to step forward. We must take full responsibility to advance the cause of justice, opportunity, and peace in a new century.

Van and others are calling. We have entered a “period of consequences” that require action.

And yet it must be said that we are stepping onto history’s stage at a frightening time — a time of global warming and global war. A time when “the market” is free and the people are not. A time of mass incarceration of people and mass extinction of species. A time of no rules for the rich and no rights for the poor. A time of increasing profits for the few and decreasing options for the many. A time of buyouts and bailouts for the powerful and convictions and evictions for the powerless.

We do not face one challenge. It is not simply global warming. It is not simply inequity in our society. It is not just the questions of war and peace. It is not just … but it is a search for a just world.

in his time, Dr. King worked for equal protection and equal opportunity. We, too, must adopt that agenda. But ours is an age of both social crisis and ecological peril. Therefore, we must insist that vulnerable communities get equal protection from racial discrimination — and from the floods, storms, droughts, plagues and fires that global warming is causing. Equal protection today means: no more Katrinas!

Van is not standing alone.  There are many people at The Dream Reborn worth listening to, learning from, and supporting in their efforts to transform America’s path forward toward an equitable, prosperous, and climate-friendly society. 

Majora Carter (Sustainable South Bronx) is an extremely eloquent and powerful voice and an effective activist for environmental justice.  Carter is working, with success, to transform one portion of New York City from urban blight to urban garden and from urban poverty to urban prosperity (or, at least, livability).   She speaks passionately, emotionally, joyously, and painfully while providing insight on how to and hope to achieve change in some of the harshest terrain of the nation. (You too can see her at the recent Take Back America conference.) 

Also there is Bracken Hendricks, who helped in the formation of Apollo Alliance; Beverly Wright from the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice;  Andy Lipkis from TreePeople;  Mary Ann Hitt from Appalachian Voices;  Nile Malloy from Rainforest Action; and many other people battling for an equitable and sustainable future for all of the US and all of us.

Just finishing up, The Dream Reborn was a three-day event worth being at which I, and too many of us and the US, missed.  That the event was over and that I/you were not in attendance should not mean The Dream Reborn is over. No, we have the opportunity to build on this, to see a reborn dream …

I have a dream …

that humanity will find a course through the perfect storm of Global Warming and Peak Oil.

I have a dream …

that this course will foster equity and justice in dealing with environmental, economic, and security challenges.

I have a dream …

May the Dream be reborn … 


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