Today, January 20th, it is Martin Luther King Jr Day in the USA. For anyone that doesn’t know who he is, MLK was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. One speech he is well-known for is his “I Have A Dream” speech. Part of his speech was, “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.” Also, “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.”
Now of course, MLK was talking about racism and how one day everyone will be judged as equal and not be looked at for the color of their skin. This speech was given on August 28th, 1963. Times were definitely different back then. Looking at our times now, a lot has changed. To start, we have a black president of the USA. Segregation is illegal. In most places, you aren’t judged by the color of your skin.
But, when you do look closely at the times, some things haven’t changed. Back in 1963 the president was John F Kennedy. As many people now know, he suffered from many illnesses, which back then were kept secret. One of those illnesses that he is thought to have had was IBD. Not much was known about it then and there weren’t a lot of treatment options.
Fast forward 50 years and a lot more is known about IBD. We have many treatment options to us, both medicinally and surgical. However none of these treatment options are cures. Anyone with IBD has it for life. Sadly, a lot of us won’t even be able to experience some of these treatments because once again we have inequality.
Instead of race being an issue, this time it is wealth. Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis can occur within anyone. It is said that about 1.4 million Americans suffer from IBD. The disease doesn’t care if you are white, black, asian, or hispanic. However, where the inequality comes in, is in the treatments. Many of the drugs are expensive. If you don’t have the money, you can’t have the drugs. There are some exceptions and the drug companies do help some people. Sadly though, there are many people out there suffering every day because they aren’t being treated. They are ignored because they don’t have health insurance. They are out of work and don’t have the thousands of dollars needed for a month’s supply of medicine. These people are pushed aside and told that they can’t have something because of their status in life.
MLK had a dream. His dream was that African-Americans would be treated as equals. For the most part, his dream has come true. Now, I have a dream. I have a dream where one day people will be allowed to be given medicine regardless of the amount of money they have. I have a dream where one day people will be treated for their illnesses because they are sick and not because they can pay a bill. I have a dream that one day IBD will be looked at as life ending diseases and a cure will be researched and found. I look forward to when IBD will be given the respect it is deserved. And I will end this with the final words of MLK’s speech:
“And when this happens, and when we allow freedom 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”