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This third-place essay was written by junior Elayne Curry for the MLK Oratorical Contest. Elayne is from Lansing and is majoring in business administration. In addition, she is a member of the Black Student Union and Veterans Advocate Group.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where my childhood consisted of hearing about stories of you from a colorful book read by a white teacher, as I sat next to my Asian and black friends, while my Hispanic friend got a drink from the water fountain and our white friend stood behind her waiting to do the same.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where I get the same pay as all my other co-workers without discrimination of the pigment of my skin.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where I can seat in not only the front of the bus but the front of anything life decides to throw at me.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where hearing about my parents childhood made them proud to say all their kids were able to attend schools and colleges where books didn’t come in few and broken.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where I realized you were just a gentle soul sent down by God with a purpose and a mission to dream a dream for a generation of dreamers to come, and died at the sword of dream stoppers.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where I can kneel, because when I am on my knees, I am standing for equality.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where my skin cannot stop me from taking my place among those who have the power to change our tomorrow and make a better today!

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where hands up don’t shoot and black lives matter shouldn’t be a movement but natural knowledge.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where my roots are from a different land, but I can call America my motherland and not worry about leaving the only place I know to be home.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where my name isn’t something that can be taken away from me, but yet something I can hold on to tightly and pass down to all of the ones that I love that will come after me.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where I am still fighting for the dream you had, still fighting to be heard, still fighting to be seen, still fighting for my tears not to be wiped away or undermined.

You had a dream so I could live in my reality.

A reality where I can continue dreaming for the generations of dreamers to come, because if I don’t then who will? All because you had a dream.

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