Turning ‘dreams’ into ‘visions’

Published 10:47 pm Monday, January 17, 2011

Whenever Danny Sledge hears a recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech, he is transported back to his childhood home in Benton Harbor, where he and his family intently watched the speech in awe.

“Not fully realizing the historical significance of that moment but knowing without a doubt that something special was happening,” Sledge said.

But Sledge, the diversity consultant and dean of student development at Lake Michigan College, knows that dream has yet to be fully realized. Delivering a speech in honor of Martin Luther King Day at Lake Michigan College’s Bertrand Crossing Campus on Monday, Sledge encouraged the audience to not become complacent.

He cited the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, the increased availability of educational opportunities for minorities and the election of a black president as “significant progress.”

“But we have still not arrived at the ‘there place,'” Sledge said.

Sledge suggested if people begin to look at Dr. King’s dream more as a vision, more progress could be made.

A dream is “an escape from reality,” said Sledge, while a vision is “a dissatisfaction with what is, coupled with a creative imagination of what could be.”

“If we’re to get there, we have to genuinely be dissatisfied with here,” he said. “After 47 years, four months and 20 days, has our here place become a place of comfort and complacency?”

Sledge closed by encouraging the audience to not be satisfied with the status quo but to go after King’s dream.

“In actuality a dream is not fulfilled until the dreamer wakes up and does something,” he said.