Why Does It Matter, Mama?

Photo Credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images


What a profound moment and a remarkable man.

Izzy had a homework assignment over the long weekend to write down her dream, following a few highlights from her Scholastic “Let’s Find Out” booklet, which outlined Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream Speech” of 1963. For the last couple of days, between playing on the swings and eating too many snacks, she’s taken this assignment out, looked at the words and photos, then put it back in her turquoise folder, reminding me she’ll work on it another time. This wouldn’t be odd, had Izzy not been the kid who can’t wait to come home from school each Thursday, ready and roaring to get her Friday packet completed before dinner. It took me until this afternoon to understand why she wouldn’t just finish this part of the assignment. The assignment was to write her dream, in echo of what King proclaimed. She didn’t know what to think of it.


“Why was it a dream for him?”

“Why does it matter that he is black?”

“What about my brown friends?”

What is the right way to explain racism, and the power of this speech?

There are ugly truths in the thick of his story. There are ugly truths that exist still today. Shame. But we sat and talked about who Martin Luther King Jr. was and why this particular speech was so vital in that time. Then I shared why it continues to be valuable for today. As nap time approached, I sat and observed as she completed her assignment.

“I have a dream that we can all be friends”. Sister, your young voice is powerful. You are a force of love and blessing. Our job is certainly not to judge others based on their God-given skin color, for that is never a factor that should divide us. Our opportunity, as free men and women, is always to offer love to all people. No one is without value. No one is without their purpose.

Free at last.

Free at last. 

Thank God, Almighty, we are FREE AT LAST. 

{Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream”}



2 thoughts on “Why Does It Matter, Mama?

  1. Thank you for taking the time to explain this to her. I was always pleased and shocked as a teacher how far we had come and yet how very much farther we had to go. Racism is still all too prevalent, but we see less of it here in Tuolumne County. I love the preciousness of children who just want friends. I know you will teach her to be a friend to all.

    1. Thank you Brenda. It is so important! Growing up in the Bay Area, I was exposed to nearly every culture and I am so grateful for that transparency.

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