By Amanda Hooper -Future Voices

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Seven words we have all heard repeated time and time again since elementary history lessons. They are, after all, the rights our founding fathers bestowed upon us as American citizens when they wrote our Declaration of Independence. They were reiterated to us in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famed “I have a Dream” Speech as he reminded Americans of these unalienable rights that we all too often forget.

It was in this same speech that MLK voiced the urgency for acting in the Now. That as a country we had a pressing need to put differences aside and come together for the betterment of our nation. Now, 47 years later we find ourselves with the same urgent need.

Our generation may not be facing the same racial segregation issues that plighted previous eras, but we still need to realize the point of the message so eloquently delivered by Dr. King. We have a need, and more so a responsibility, to work together as a generation in standing up for what is right for our country.

Too much energy has been wasted in the past trying to point out the shortcomings of differing races and sexes, or opposing political and religious views. If half the effort society devotes to bickering about these topics was instead devoted toward bettering America, who knows where we could be right now? If we, as the greatest nation in the world, lived up to our potential…I think we would all astonish ourselves.
Last weekend, on the 47th anniversary of MLK’s inspirational speech, hundreds of thousands of proud Americans gathered in Washington D.C. to celebrate our nation at the Restoring Honor rally. Hundreds of thousands of Americans put aside any differences they had to honor the founding principles of our country. If hundreds of thousands of us can do that, why can’t we all?

French writer, Anatole France once said:

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe”.

MLK was both a dreamer and a believer and in being so paved the way for great things in our nation. So now, today, we as a generation should follow that example of Dr. King, and of our founding fathers and stand up not just for what we believe but ultimately for what is best for our country. It is, after all, our promised right to live freely and happily, and we mustn’t take these civil liberties for granted…