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Op-Ed: We Can Do Better

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

On the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Alberto Cortes revisited the ‘I Had a Dream’ speech, and was reminded of how much more must be done to move forward in the right direction.

By Alberto Cortes

As we approach Jan. 15,Martin Luther King Jr.’s [actual] birthday, I took the time to read and watch his “I Had a Dream” speech which hedelivered on the 28th of August 1963, and as I read through it 57 years later, I realize not much has changed. A lot of this is still relevant in today’sAmerica. 2020 has taught me that this country is still full of hate and it is up all of us to want to do more.

As Americans, we must ask ourselves “When will you be satisfied?”

On April 4, 1968, the day of Rev. Martin Luther King’s assassination, we were silenced as a nation. In my opinion I think the citizens of this country felt defeated.

It is so much easier to go on living your life as if everything is okay and pretend that we live in a country where all our neighbors love each other – until May 25, 2020, 52 years after Martin Luther King’sassassination. The murder of a Black man at the hands of a white police officer was caught on video. Fifty-two years of silence comes to an end, 52 years of pretending that we are united comes to an end. We realize now that we are more divided than ever, and the divisiveness of our elected officials is only adding fuel to the fire.

“America is on fire” and if we do not start coming together soon, we will destroy this country.

In 2021, how do we move forward as brothers and sisters? How do we hold our leaders accountable?

If we want change we need to come together as a united America to do so. We need to ensure that our elected leaders do not just reach for the low hanging fruit to keep us silenced, but instead reach for the stars to finally see change and move forward as a nation.

We need to put partisan politics aside and finally put people over politics. As country we need to start doing the right thing.

2020 has been a dark year. Let us not overshadow Dr. King’s birthday with hate, but instead honor him by not only uniting as a community, also by coming together as a nation so that we can start healing and move forward as a United America. WE CAN DO BETTER!

Alberto Cortes is a West Hartford resident and has been a candidate for Town Council and the state legislature.

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