Jackie Gingrich Cushman

"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. ... I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. ... Looking forward to that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

As we reflect on the changes in the 150 years since Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and in the 50 years since King delivered his dream speech, let us continue to challenge ourselves and each other to be more; to do more; to know that as long as there is work to be done, that we must work together for a brighter future.

It's easy to tear down others, to create divisions and to alienate those who differ from us. It's harder to look toward the larger purpose and possibilities that can happen when we work together.

Without malice, with charity, judged not on color but on the content of character, to really be free at last -- the legacy of Lincoln and King. To remember that, for every generation, we have to work together to ensure that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.