Even After King Day I Am Still Dreaming Things are much clearer when you open you eyes. As we celebrate the legacy of a man, who invested a life of service and undying commitment to justice and equality for all, we usually also highlight his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. With the continuous struggles of life and perils of the world, I too have a dream. One that is simple, yet complicated. My hopes rest on the value of knowledge, the foundation of having an education, and improving the conditions and experiences many students have to go through. The lack of importance on the individual, schools, and communities, deters and distracts people from their highest potential. We need to focus on our people, our strengths, our self-improvement. May we see each other for what we are and can be worth. It’s everywhere. In classrooms, in the streets, in our families, our communities, prisons, and even sometimes within you. It’s a code word for competition in the business world. A way of living in the jail system. A hierarchy within most cultures. It is Darwinism practiced at its worst. You know it as bullying. I know it as rivalry; an option to show strength while really only exposing weakness, a daily issue, a continuous problem. Can there be rules and regulations for consequences when we fail to even hold people accountable for their actions? Why doesn’t zero tolerance work in schools? How much do these schools make from In School Suspension (ISS)? Or when they send students to Forest Hill Academy; that is where all the “Children Left Behind” go. Don’t they need to feed the schools for “Bad” students too? How else will they label our children if they don’t let action become horrible, sad stories on the news because of bullying. Oh wait, those students who are charged with murder, assault, and a range of felonies or misdemeanors, help feed our prisons. Isn’t it clear when we open our eyes? Now let us just one day open our hearts and put our dreams into practice. Or how about our foundations at home? You might call her Nana, Mimi, Mimo, Mamo, Ma, Grandma, or simply MOM. You may not have to leave home on Sundays for dinner since that is where you live anyways. Or you may not know your real mother as MOM, since you call her by her first name whenever she comes by, calls, or pops up in your life. Why are so many children raised by their grandparents? It has been found that one in ten children live with a grandparent. One in four children are being raised by a grandparent. That leads to almost 40-50 % of all children in the nation. What is the problem with this? Many are living under their means. Most grandparents are not able to assist with homework, conferences, stay up to date with emails, notes home, or due to health conditions simply may not have the patience a child actually needs to evolve. While this is a great example of how “We” have finally taken some responsibility for supporting children whose parents cannot. What example does this set for the child? They may never want to forgive or comprehend why their parent left or chose intangibles over their life. Let the child be one with an inquisitive mind, where they ask endless questions until all the truths they were once told become lies. Let the child be yours, and you simply never knew he existed. We must hold each other accountable. We must support our grandparents in these endeavors. We must do this right. Not to collect social security, claim a child on their taxes, or benefit from Food Stamps and monetary support, but to feel good about raising another human being – your own flesh and blood. We must increase our levels of respect for absence in order to appreciate life. I want to see some change in this world, even if it occurs on a microscale. Teachers who don’t care. Teachers who hate their jobs. People who hate their jobs. Students as statistics. Students as labels. College dropout rates. High school graduation rates. The “System” – public school system Educational System “The System” Incarcerated parents Fatherless homes Anger and depression among students Cries for social acceptance Experiments with sexual orientation Teaching to the worksheet Testing Pressure, Patience, and Practicality Moving forward physically Left behind academically Stuck Abuse Abortion Rape Unemployed parents No food at home School is a meal. School is a warm place. The only time a child is noticed. Love is blind to reality. Open your minds. Open your hearts. Open your dreams To step forward and toward progression. Live a little. Help a lot. Believe in a child. Have faith in your own power. You can change.