Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Still Dreaming After 50 Years

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” Fifty years later this speech is still powerful and moving. It is the most famous speech from quite possibly the greatest speaker in American history. Tomorrow we will celebrate MLK Day across the country. While many people will simply view this as a day off of work, I want to make sure we don’t lose sight of what this man meant to our country. Unfortunately, there are still pockets of this country where racism is an issue, but we have sure come a long way…..and let’s hope will continue to move forward.

Below is the text of the final five minutes of the speech:

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

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 have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Here is a link to the video of the speech in its entirety: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs

Can We Learn Anything From the Sandusky Trial?

By now almost everyone is aware of the Jerry Sandusky trial. Even for those who tend to tune into ESPN instead of the evening news, there was no escape, thanks in large part to the role Penn State University and their football team played in the saga. To put this into context, the verdict was read at the same time as the NHL draft, less than 24 hours after the NBA crowned a new champion, and during the College World Series; however, the lead story on SportsCenter that night was the 45 individual guilty verdicts handed down by the jury. There is still a lot that we don’t know about the whole situation, and some things we will never know, such as what did the late Joe Paterno know about Sandusky’s actions. One thing we do know, barring a successful appeal by Sandusky’s legal team, is that Sandusky will die while in the custody of the Pennsylvania prison system. He is 68 years old and facing a minimum of 60 years of incarceration.

This story is far from over….there may be more victims out there who have yet to come forward (during the trial we found out that Sandusky’s foster son, who is now in his 30s, has said that he too was abused as a child); there will most likely be civil suits filed against Sandusky, Penn State, and school officials; and currently there are former school officials facing perjury charges stemming from the investigation.

Is there anything to learn form this case?

First, we know silence is what allows people like Sandusky to keep victimizing children. It’s almost like fuel on a wild fire. There are many reasons why victims of these types of crimes do not come forward (shame, fear, guilt, embarrassment, etc….), and we can not blame them for staying silent for so long. I spent over a year of my professional career prosecuting people like Sandusky, and unfortunately his story is not unique. Often these monsters prey on vulnerable children and make threats to keep them silent. It is important for victims to know they are not alone, which is one reason why once the story broke last November many victims broke their silence, realizing they were not the only ones who went through the nightmare.

Second, monsters like Sandusky can blend in with everyone else, its not always just the stereotype of a strange man driving a window-less van. A lot of times we find out that these criminals are the people who society trusts; in recent years there have been numerous stories involving teachers, coaches, and church members. In fact, on the same day and in the same state as the Sandusky verdict, a jury found Monsignor William Lynn guilty of Child Endangerment for his role in covering up alleged sex abuse in his church. A lesson to be learned by parents is to never let your guard down. This does not mean to be suspicious of everyone and accuse people of crimes, but to just remember that you never truly know who a person is and how they act behind closed doors. So, just always be alert. Talk to your children often and make sure they are comfortable talking to you.

Third, there are no witnesses. Sandusky, like most other sexual abusers, was calculated in what he did. Even though there was one incident were a young assistant coach happened to walk in and see something inappropriate, these people typically attack when they know there is no one around. This makes prosecuting these cases difficult, because ultimately it comes down to the victims’ testimony, which is often times years removed from the actual crime. Technology and the “CSI effect” give the jury the mistaken belief that there should always be some type of forensic evidence to prove what happened, which is another hurdle prosecutors face in trial.

Even though the victims and their families will never fully recover from their physical and emotional scars, hopefully knowing that other children are now safe from this monster can help them begin to move forward. At some point, this news story will fade away from national attention. At some point, Penn State University will get past the black cloud which is now placed over their campus. At some point, we may all forget about this trial. But always remember, at no point will the victims be completely whole again. Sandusky took away an innocence from each one of his victims that can not be returned. Remember, that for the victims, this nightmare will never truly be over.


Goldy’s Run

Welcome to my blog at LeoneLegal.com. I will be periodically blogging about legal issues  and updates in the law, and discussing how you may be affected. Also, I will blog about current events or other topics which are in the news. Today, however, I want to blog about Goldy’s Run, which is a 10 mile, 5K or Kid’s Run being held on the University of Minnesota’s campus next month.

Now you may be wondering why I’m blogging about a running event on a law firm website. Well, there are a couple reasons. First, and foremost, it is about who will benefit from the proceeds of this event. Being a father of two young children it is heartbreaking to see any child in need of medical care. However, it is good to know that there are hospitals, such as the Amplatz Children’s Hospital at the University of Minnesota. The proceeds from this race will help support the hospital in their groundbreaking research, surgeries, and treatments. It was Amplatz Children’s Hospital where the first successful pediatric blood marrow transplant was performed, as well as the first infant heart transplant in Minnesota.

It is also at Amplatz Children’s Hospital where a friend of our family has spent a lot of long hours recently. Her son underwent a succesful surgery when he was only four days old and I am happy to say that he is now on his road to recovery. The doctors, nurses, and staff perform miracles on a daily basis, so lets help support them with this wonderful event.

Now for the second reason why I’m writing about Goldy’s Run…..It’s a run through the University of Minnesota campus on a nice spring morning. Take advantage of the Minnesota weather and visit one of the best college campuses in the country. The event will be family friendly and the kids will love running in the Kid’s Run and meeting Goldy Gopher.

And finally, all the races end on the 50 yard line of the new TCF Bank Stadium and your picture will appear on the scoreboard as you cross the finish line.

Now for the information on Goldy’s Run:

Saturday, April 14 at 8:00 am.

The entry fees are $60 for the 10 mile, $35 for the 5K, and $10 for the Kid’s Run.

So bring the family out, help raise money for a great cause, and, most importantly, have some great fun.

For more information on the Amplatz Children’s Hospital you can visit their website at http://www.uofmchildrenshospital.org/index.htm.

For more information on Goldy’s Run you can visit http://www.goldysrun.com/page/show/272092-goldy-s-run-saturday-april-14.