It was the speech that inspired generations to fight for a better future. Has his vision been realized? Civil rights leaders consider what it would be today
If Martin Luther King Jr was alive today, his dream would be to promote equal representation of all people.
The misrepresentation of people of color in the media and society leads to dangerous stereotypes. Black people are often bombarded with double standards. Black men may be viewed as dangerous criminals, black women as angry and aggressive.
These stereotypes cause inaccurate portrayals and inequality. Low expectations become the norm. With the common belief that young black children are less than their counterparts, these kids often have low self-esteem and the belief they cannot achieve. With these stereotypes projected onto us, false notions become fact and fear of young black children spreads. Children of color are punished and incarcerated at disproportionate rates.
These inaccurate portrayals lead to fear. The fear of black people increases the amount of race-related casualties. Society identifies suspects who are black by their race, but does not do the same when white people are suspects. Black people are assumed to be armed and guilty, while white people are given the benefit of the doubt, therefore black people are victims of violence without cause.
Today the Rev Martin Luther King Jr, as he did during the 1960s, would promote a movement to educate people and to inspire black youth.
As King said: Now is the time to make justice reality for all of Gods children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the movement.
Naomi Wadler is 11. She recently spoke at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington DC
Imagine a world where black people are not policed but instead supported, and loved and cared for. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP 'I Have A Dream': students from Martin Luther King Jr's former school recite speech King was clear that change would not come from one messiah or politician, but a movement from the bottom up.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed, King declared.
Like Dr King, we must refuse to believe that the great vaults of the nation are bankrupt. Reigniting the movement of poor people that Dr King and others called for in 1968 is the best way to honor his legacy. We are doing what he said grassroots leaders in states across the country are building a moral movement to reclaim our nations lost soul.
Until we address the same systemic racism, poverty, militarism, ecological devastation and theological malpractice of Christian nationalism Dr King fought against, our nations dream will continue to collide with the nightmare.
The Rev Barber and the Rev Theoharis are both co-chair of the Poor Peoples Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival
George Yancy, professor of philosophy at Emory University
We are living an American nightmare. The current state of white America, as it marches toward an unabashed authoritarianism and an antidemocratic neofascism, is reprehensible. America has forfeited the little moral authority that it had. At its helm is someone, Donald Trump, far more dangerous than George Wallace, Eugene Bull Connor and George Lincoln Rockwell combined.
How can, how dare, my evangelical Christian brothers and sisters love God and refuse to reject militarism, xenophobia and Trumps words of violence of fire and fury?
I have a dream where the people refuse his lies, hoaxes, hypocrisy, alternative facts, and political idolatry.
I have a dream where the people, the demos, tire of his moral equivocation, where the KKK is not as good as those who protest them.
I have a dream where America refuses to unleash a bloody war on its own children, slaughtered in their schools, and in their neighborhoods, their bodies bloodied and torn to bits by guns because politicians care more about money and power than their young lives.
I have a dream where politicians are not moral cowards and spineless sycophants.
I have a dream that one day America will give a damn about its stated proclamations written on parchment.
I have a dream where black lives will finally matter, where I can breathe again, where my soul isnt haunted by the painful and mournful cries of an Eric Garner: I cant breathe.
I have a dream that one day a Trayvon Martin will no longer be hunted down and murdered like a dog in the street because he is judged by the color of his skin or a Bishop Charles E Blake Sr and Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Through the suffering of innocent freedom riders, faith leaders and working people we shook the conscience of a nation. Through the cries of I am a man, we rose up to realize the promise of democracy. Through the creative suffering of the civil rights movement we hewed from the mountain of despair a stone of hope, the ultimate non-violent means of compelling lasting social and political change the vote.
I AM 2018, picking up the mantle from Dr King and the fearless Memphis sanitation workers, mobilizing together toward the 2018 elections and beyond. Together we will recommit ourselves to the work of bringing Dr Kings dreams to life. Together, we shall overcome those who seek to silence our voice.
Bishop Charles E Blake Sr is the presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, one of the oldest and largest pentecostal denominations in the world. Lee Saunders is the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a union of 1.6 million members that represented the Memphis sanitation workers who went on an historic strike in 1968
Tricia Rose, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University
Im writing this to dramatize a shameful condition. Racial injustice and systemic discrimination remain defining features of black life in the wealthiest and most powerful democracy in the world.
Since Kings I have a dream speech, Jim Crow signposts have been physically removed but the underlying aims the systemic accrual and protection of white racial advantages over black people remain largely in place.
Today we face a less visible but still formidable condition. The explicit defense of racial hierarchy has mainly been replaced by the outright denial of the conditions of injustice a denial manufactured by deft co-optation and reinterpretation rather than the rejection of the values of civil rights.
Efforts to level a grossly uneven playing field are met with agreement that it should be level. In fact, many good white people say it is level and if anything they are at a racial disadvantage.
To fight for justice today is to do battle with the twisted myth of colorblindness, a race-neutral sounding ideal that fuels self-righteous post-race white protectionism. The term freedom itself has been pried from the hands of social justice movements and re-attached to the protection of the powerful. The durability of white fear and its impacts on the life chances of black and brown people tugs at me. I worry about the consolidation of corporate power and its influence over government, journalism, culture and media. If this continues, where will tomorrows radical truth tellers come from?
I am reminded of Kings caution not to wallow in the valley of despair. The power of justice, love and the will of everyday people is tested but is not extinguished. This is not the darkest moment. And truth tellers are all around us, embattled but still here.
Tricia Rose is director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University