What dreams are made of
In honor of Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 16, Elicia Azali, American Family Insurance group chief marketing officer, reflects on her recent visit to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial with her family.
Over holiday break, my family and I visited the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Atlanta.
We spent the day in the community where Dr. King lived, Sweet Auburn, a predominately African American community that flourished during his lifetime. We also visited the home where he raised his four children and his home church, Ebenezer Baptist.
We were most captivated by his memorial, an infinity pool where he and his wife Coretta Scott King lay to rest, and his “I Have a Dream” speech played on repeat.
After this day of walking in his world and reflecting, the words in his speech were more clear and powerful than ever to me:
“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”
Admittedly, upon hearing these words, as the mother of four brown boys, I was heartbroken.
This year we will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, and while we have made progress over the last several decades, as a nation we have work to do to fully live into his dream.
Many of the challenges Dr. King dedicated his life to fighting – police brutality, voting rights issues and unequal pay – are still relevant today.
Would he be proud of the progress that had been made? Are we doing all that’s possible to help everyone rise?
As I continued to listen to his speech, in the city we both call home, alongside my four children, I was overcome with strong feelings of hope, pride and connection with him and his dream.
“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. I have a dream today.”
I became more resolved in the range of my emotions, because his words made it clear that he too, felt dissatisfied and hopeful, weary and urgent.
He was a dreamer about the seemingly impossible and also fearless in his pursuit of those dreams. He knew that dreaming fearlessly required grit, determination, and yes, at times dissatisfaction.
He also understood that to make progress as a nation we must do so together. This emotional tension will fuel us to live more fully into his dream.
This year, as we head into the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, let’s honor his efforts and each other’s humanity. Let’s use this moment of reflection to encourage ourselves to be constructively dissatisfied, to take purposeful action, and to commit to making his dream, America’s dream, a reality. Together.
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About the American Family Insurance group
Based in Madison, Wisconsin, American Family Insurance has been serving customers since 1927. We inspire, protect and restore dreams through our insurance products, exceptional service from our agency owners and employees, community investment and creative partnerships to address societal challenges. We act on our belief in diversity and inclusion by constantly evolving to meet customer needs and preferences. American Family Insurance group is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group, ranking No. 251 on the Fortune 500 list. The group sells American Family-brand products, primarily through exclusive agency owners in 19 states. The American Family Insurance group also includes CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, The General, Homesite and Main Street America Insurance. Across these companies the group has more than 13,000 employees nationwide.