The more we’ve thought about it, the more we’ve come to realize that, here in Saunderstown, we have a lot in common with the late, great Martin Luther King.
You see, just like the courageous civil rights leader, here in our studio we too have a dream.
In some respects it might seem like a dream different, but boil it down and, really, it isn’t so.
For like Dr King’s, our own vision is one founded on equality, on unity, on compassion and understanding.
It is a dream rooted in a single, simple premise.
That we are all connected.
That in mind, we would have loved to have joined the masses in Washington DC at the weekend to see Dr King and his work honoured at the dedication of his long-awaited memorial on the National Mall.
The place where, 48 years earlier, on August 28, 1963, he shook the United States to its core, sharing his dream and, to quote President Obama, ‘stirring our conscience’.
It wasn’t possible, more’s the pity, but that does not mean that our hearts and minds weren’t there.
If nothing else, we had a representative in a rather prominent position: our President, a fellow OM owner, a fellow believer.
You see, much connects us in this life.
Like President Obama, we have nothing but the utmost respect, awe and admiration for Dr King.
Like President Obama, the grateful recipient of a package mailed from right here in Rhode Island a little earlier this year, we appreciate our OMs and all the qualities that inspire them.
Qualities like freedom and brotherhood, courage and vision, unity, faith and moral imagination.
These are all are words that could be used to describe our efforts. These are all words that President Obama used to lionize Dr King during Sunday’s commemorations.
If we may, we’d like to quote the President at some length, for his speech struck a chord here in our studio, its points pertinent and poignant in equal measure.
“Just as we draw strength from Dr King’s struggles, so must we draw inspiration from his constant insistence on the oneness of man; the belief in his words that ‘we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny’,” he said.
“We need, more than ever, to take heed of Dr King’s teachings. He calls on us to stand in the other person’s shoes; to see through their eyes; to understand their pain. We are bound together as one people and must constantly strive to see ourselves in one another.
“He understood that to bring about true and lasting change there must be the possibility of reconciliation; that any social movement has to channel this tension through the spirit of love and mutuality.
“If he were alive today, he would call on us to assume the best in each other rather than the worst, and challenge one another in ways that ultimately heal rather than wound.
“He would not give up because in the smallest hamlets and the darkest slums he had witnessed the highest reaches of the human spirit; because in those moments when the struggle seemed most hopeless, he had seen men and women and children conquer their fear; because he had seen hills and mountains made low and rough places made plain, and the crooked places made straight.
“So, with our eyes on the horizon and our faith squarely placed in one another, let us keep striving; let us keep struggling; let us keep climbing toward that promised land of a nation and a world that is more fair, and more just, and more equal.”
It’s stirring stuff and, to be honest, there’s not an awful lot that we can add to it.
It’s clear that Dr King inspires President Obama as much as he does us and we’re thankful that, at last, he has been immortalized on the National Mall, a fitting monument to a remarkable man.
Hewn from granite, standing nine meters tall, Dr King and his message are there for us all to see forever more.
It’s time to listen. Time to take note. Time to act.
We are all connected.