Today was Johns Hopkins' Martin Luther King Celebration. It is an annual event. Hopkins invites a big-name speaker or two, a gospel choir performs, and service awards are handed out. In the past, we have had Jesse Jackson, James Earl Jones, Maya Angelou. Last year's speaker, Al Sharpton, was a no-show, and Barbara Mikulski had to fill in at the last minute.
This year Congressman Elijah Cummings, and actress Lynn Whitfield were the speakers. The choir was Unified Voices, our "house" choir. I missed Rep. Cummings speech, but Lynne Whitfield gave a dramatic reading of a YA book written about Martin by his sister. It was very well done, but went on so long that I had to go back to work before the program was over.
There was also a video tribute to Barack Obama.
It was all very moving and uplifting. But it got me wondering. Would it even be possible to have a Martin Luther King now? Would the press have shadowed and hounded him, looking for his failings and weaknesses? Has the power of words been diluted by the avalanche of information bombarding us daily? Would we have loved him for his 15 minutes of fame and then gleefully watched his downfall?
I like to think that we still have room for dreams. And words that mean something. We did elect Barack Obama, and to me, that means we still have the ability to hope.