Recognizing “I Have a Dream” 50 Years after Rev Martin Luther King

Fifty years ago today, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his unforgettable “I Have a Dream” speech to 250,000 supporters, punctuating the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Well, on this day 50 years later, I had the distinct pleasure of hearing another powerful, charismatic African American leader who is clearly making his mark on society by reminding all of us identity matters and to commit to our vision for the future, very much in line with Rev. King’s message 50 years ago.

Recognizing “I Have a Dream” 50 Years after Rev Martin Luther King

Mr. Stedman Graham (@StedmanGraham), Chairman and CEO of S. Graham & Associates, is a best-selling author, educator, and entrepreneur. Born in Whitesboro, New Jersey, Graham was told as a young boy that he would not amount to much and therefore shouldn’t bother going to college. Why? Because he was black. Turns out that “poor black boy” as he was considered by some in his community not only graduated from college but also received a Master’s degree in Education, played basketball professionally in Europe, and wrote nine books. He is even worth a reported $10 million these days, so he clearly has figured out a few things about how to reach beyond oneself and achieve one’s dreams in life!

That was actually one of the most inspiring ideas he shared during his keynote address at this year’s California HR conference by PIHRA (Professionals in Human Resources Association) (@PIHRA) today. Graham shared that creating a vision based on a possible future bigger than your current circumstances is required to lay the foundation for success. Regardless of what anyone else may think of you, having a positive self-identity will empower you, and this vision offers clarity for your ongoing actions in life. It also provides a more positive outlook for whenever you fall down and need help getting back up again. Graham offers that it’s about having clarity in your vision and making positive choices aligned with that intended destination that makes the difference to achieving your dreams or not

I for one know how challenging it can be to get back up when I fall down. Whether it’s been getting divorced or simply not achieving my professional objectives like an annual sales target, it has me question my abilities and seriously doubt myself when things don’t turn out as I expect them to. Maintaining a positive outlook and keeping focused on my longer-term goals though helps me get through these tough times and endure through what really are just moments in time.

According to Graham, you’re not a failure when you fall down. You’re only a failure if you don’t get back up. I have definitely lost sight of that over the years and am forever grateful for having Graham help me back up again today. When I thanked him in person after his presentation, his parting words for me were, “Dig deep!”

I have a dream. Anything is possible for me and my life. I am now present to that again. What do you want for yourself?  For your organization?  For your community?

Posted in California HR Conference, Commitment, Confidence, Dreams, Identity, Martin Luther King, PIHRA, Self-confidence, Stedman Graham, Vision
One comment on “Recognizing “I Have a Dream” 50 Years after Rev Martin Luther King
  1. Mark Blanchard says:

    Jeremy, Great article. Thanks for writing it. Now we just have to believe it. Congrats on the wedding. I hope you and Monica are happy the rest of your lives together. Look forward to our call on Monday.

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