In 1986, as a high school senior, I wrote an essay on the theme of “Living the Dream.” That essay, describing how the need to believe and achieve our dreams is part of what unites us, finalled in an essay contest celebrating the first national Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. I was invited to go to the King Center and read my essay, along with five other finalists from across the city.
That day, I realized the power of words to persuade, enlighten, to motivate, to change. The power of my words. I received a plaque and a certificate. I still have my certificate, signed by Coretta Scott King, framed and hanging in my office.
I will never forget that day. I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment, empowerment. I will never, ever, stop living the dream. It’s the least I can do to honor two people who have done so much for so many.