As we approached the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, I took the time to read and watch his “I Had a Dream” speech which he  delivered on Aug. 28, 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’s America. 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?”

Alberto Cortes

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 OK 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’s  assassination, when 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 a 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 of West Hartford is a retired correction officer.

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