We Have A Dream

March 7, 2012
Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most influential speakers in all of American history. His "I Have a Dream" speech of 1963 was witnessed by around 250,000 people, both whites and blacks, not including the hundreds of thousands of viewers watching avidly in homes nationwide. It was a tremendously significant milestone for the American Civil Rights Movement. He hoped that future generations could live together in peace and harmony and never judge one another. (Goudsouzian) Unfortunately, however, in this day and age where technology is all around us, cyberbullying is a huge problem. Victims of this issue feel singled out and alone, feeling like they do not have the right to speak out; this is obviously not the ideal he wanted for the future. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream to put a stop to prejudice and segregation among Americans and he did so by using his best asset: his voice and his connections; we as future leaders should follow in his footsteps and use our greatest tool; the internet, in order to end cyberbullying.
No one could say that bullying wasn't around before the technology age, but many could say that it’s has gotten a lot worse. In fact one in seven students in kindergarten through 12th grade is either a bully or a target of bullying ("Facts and Statistics”) This problem has not just grown in size, but also in intensity now that most of it is not only done in school but at home on computers, and everywhere else on cell phones. Children and adolescents who are victims of cyberbullying have nowhere to go because now that technology is everywhere so is online harassment. After King’s powerful legacy people thought twice before they muttered a racist or judgmental word to someone elses face, but now with the internet as such a strong device they no longer have to. Hiding behind the word “anonymous” they feel powerful and strong, and hate flows easy out of their mouths like water in a violent river rapids, practically pulverizing anything that gets in its way. Most of them are unaware that they are doing anything wrong, but little do they know they aren’t just messing with their peer’s feelings, but they are also affecting this innocent child’s education and their lives. As a matter of fact every day 160,000 students across the nation skip school because they are afraid of being tormented. (“Facts and Statistics”) But things can get much, much worse than poor grades. One tragic example is the case of Jamey Rodemeyer from Buffalo, New York who had been abused by cyberbullies for months by making anonymous posts on his formspring account and harassing him in school before he couldn't take it anymore and killed himself. A week before he took his life Jamey wrote in his blog “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens. What do I have to do to do so people will listen to me”, his unfortunate case shows how little support kids get. (James) No matter how serious the cyberbullying is, it’s always unacceptable, and that’s why we need to find a way to stop it.
If Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive to witness this injustice he wouldn’t just be appalled, but he would also be inspired. In his “I Have A Dream” speech he said “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 (King), this suggests that he hoped that one day Americans would have an epiphany and finally realize that everyone is created equal. However, even though people today are expected to treat everyone as equals, many are just unnecessarily mean to others. In order to solve this problem we must ask ourselves “What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do?” In the Montgomery Bus Boycott African-Americans protested Rosa Parks arrest by boycotting use of buses. During this time instead of rioting or yelling at the police in order to get what they wanted, the protest was completely non-violent. ("Martin Luther King Jr.") If he was still present, he would not use words against words by simply lecturing and yelling at the perpetrators so that they would be feared into stopping, instead he would do something to get the nation’s attention like when marched with over a quarter of a million people in the March Of Washington (“March On Washington”). He wouldn’t force people to believe anything that he was saying; he would just explain to them why they should.
Since the government doesn’t declare cyberbullying as a federal crime, and school’s do very little to support victims of this act, we as allies must take this issue into our own hands. I f it was up to me I would use the Internet to teach these people why cyberbullying is wrong, this way I could attract the attention of youth that use the Web so much, and are usually the age group involved in cyberbullying attacks. Mirroring the young people involved in the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, I would take advantage of social networking sites. These sites would be filled with information about how to prevent cyberbullying and what to do if someone they know is being tormented online, this way a victim of cyberbullying could easily access help in a private anonymous way which will make them feel much more comfortable. This approach would be successful because the most important step to end abuse over the Internet is to create as many allies as possible. The more allies we have the safer the Internet will become. Attracting the attention of bullies and victims of cyberbullying will make the Internet a better place.
Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in using actions not words to reach his goal. In order to stop cyberbullying, we future leaders have to connect to our audience of young people Once we do that and end this online problem his dream will have finally come true.

Works Cited

"Facts and Statistics." Make Beats Not Beat Downs. MNBD, 2009. Web. 15 Dec 2011.

Goudsouzian, Aram. "Martin Luther King Jr." The American Mosaic: The African American

Experience. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 13 Dec. 2011.

"I have a Dream speech." Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc, 01/17/11. Web. 16 Dec


James, Susan. "Gay Buffalo Teen Commits Suicide on Eve of National Bullying Summit." ABC

News. ABC NEWS, 9/21/11. Web. 18 Dec 2011.

"March on Washington." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2012. Web. 4 Jan. 2012.

"Martin Luther King Jr." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2011. Web. 18 Dec. 2011.

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