I was asked to give one of the keynote speeches at a virtual MLK Day event and I wanted to share my speech with you today.

********

Dr. King once said, "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

In the 1960s, Dr. King beseeched America to make it a better place for all people, and yes, we have come far, but not far enough. We have not reached the mountaintop yet.

In the year 2020, the entire world saw the death of George Floyd right in front of our eyes on our TVs, computers, and cell phones. After seeing that, it was like an awakening to many people in this country. And here we are...

It is the year 2021, and I dare say America IS FINALLY READY to have that tough conversation now. Our nation must fix the inequalities in the world of money, power, and justice. We, the people, must demand EQUALITY and equity for everyone.

Some of us have come from generations of trauma. We have been wounded, taken for granted, turned into second-class citizens, and we have been UNDERESTIMATED. It's not for lack of trying. Some of us have had our native lands stolen away from us and generations of our families devastated. Let us acknowledge the First Peoples of this land.

We still have a long way to go for America to reach racial, gender, and judicial EQUALITY, but we must not give up.

In this year of 2021, we are coming up with a stone of HOPE. We are no longer putting up with hand-me-down racism or the disenfranchisement of our votes. We are demanding change in our laws so that we can be truly free at last, free at last!

And yes, we will make big mistakes as we endeavor to make things right. We will make big mistakes in our personal lives, I have had many failures, many lapses in my judgment. I have had some humiliating setbacks. But I cannot and will not let those represent everything that I am. Nor should you. Nor should the people in America.

We are Freedom, we are prosperity, we are equality, we are our ancestors' dreams.

Let me end with a message of hope. Here is my call to action: Get off your behind and start inspiring others. Do you know why? Because iron sharpens iron. You sharpen one person and then another person sharpens you. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, who encourage you, who motivate you to do the hard work now so that we can leave a legacy of PROSPERITY that we can be proud of.

Let us do our best to set great examples for the children of today. Let us rescue Mother Earth because Father Time is coming and our climate is changing for the worse if we don't do something today to stop it.

Today, a friend on my Facebook made this comment: "Dr. King did stand for peace, but he also stood for tough, uncomfortable debate and confronting issues and creating change."

I will echo her sentiments. When someone tries to tell you to shut up and turn the other cheek and accept verbal and mental abuse, you tell them NO! You speak up and say the TRUTH!

We also must give homage and respect to Coretta Scott King, because, without her love and support, there would be no Dr. King.

Today's theme is "Power in the People...Freedom, Equality, and Prosperity. There can be none of these things if we don't start getting our STUFF together-as a community.

So let's get that stuff TOGETHER, East Texas!

KEEP READING: See changes enacted since George Floyd’s death