‘I Have a Dream’ at the San Diego-Mexico Border and Reflections on 1968

by on September 7, 2018 · 0 comments

in History, San Diego

Richard Lawrence standing in front of the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama wearing the 50 year medallion given to “original 1965 Selma foot soldiers” by the Selma Celebration Committee in 2015.

By Rev. Richard Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

1968 came back to me when I stood with Martin Luther King, III, at the Border on August 28 and listened to folks on the other side of the Border holler in pure delight that the day had finally come when a black leader stood tall in the fight for a just immigration policy.

King, III, took us back to his father’s “I Have a Dream Speech” fifty-five years ago and reminded us that there’s no room for leaders who separate children from their parents in the world his father envisioned. No. Dr. King wanted to build bridges, not barriers, to freedom.


Martin Luther King III (l) shaking hands with Rev. Richard Lawrence at the Border.
Photo Credit Tom Lemmon

It wasn’t a long march we made at the Border that day, but it boiled over with the promise that there’s a common agenda that binds the black and the brown communities in their fight for justice.

I could forget for a while the sights on the streets of Chicago when Richard J. Daley slipped and called the response by his police force to demonstrators as the Democratic Convention “a police riot,” and then went on in a very Trump-like fashion to tell the press that they knew what he meant and wanted to know why they did not print that.


1968 was a very good year. The lovers of freedom were in the streets and left a legacy that lived on at the Border with Martin Luther King, III: if we want freedom, we better be ready to fight for it because no one is going to give it up without a fight.


Rev. Richard Lawrence is a retired civil rights leader and an affordable housing advocate. His list of honors includes the San Diego Housing Federation’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” and a San Diego City Council declaration making November 10, 2013 “Richard Lawrence Day.” He is the author of “Light, Bright, Damn Near White: Stories and Reflections of a Multi-Racial Black Man’s Battles with Racism in America.”

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