My family’s recent trip to South Africa included a visit to Cape Town and Nobel Square which honors the country’s four Nobel Peace Prize Laureates; Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk, Desmond Tutu and Albert Luthuli and Robben Island, the world heritage site where Mandela and numerous other political prisoners were banished during the country’s struggle with apartheid.
It was very poignant seeing my daughters playing and posing in front of these monuments, not having any understanding of their significance. I was not much older than my 9 year old when I became aware of the human rights violations in South Africa through protest songs calling for the release of Mandela and a boycott of a South African resort because of its apartheid policy.
I am so grateful that my children are benefiting form Dr. King’s dream despite having no clue about the struggle. My children do not judge, nor are they judged by the color of their skin. We took them to DC for the inauguration of President Obama two years ago and the tears of joy that I cried as the first black president took office was completely lost on them. Two years before he won, I couldn’t fathom that it could happen. My children won’t be able to fathom that there was ever any doubt.
In the international school they attend, they encounter children from all over the world and are much more concerned about the colors of the children’s national flag then their skin. In fact, while in South Africa my 9 year old commented on how much she liked the flag, because, with its splashes of green and yellow, it stood out from so many other flags that rely so heavily on red and blue.
So as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, I say that while we still have a long way to go to make his dream a reality, I still have the audacity to hope that it will be realized. And I have unwavering faith that one day soon this is the world my children will inherit.