Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dream measured 50 years after his assassination

School of City and Regional Planning Associate Professor Nisha Botchwey has a special relationship with the vision presented by Martin Luther King, Jr. during his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Together with Andrea Young, Botchwey began the Measuring the Dream Project three years ago. The goal of the project is to inspire activists and scholars to recommit themselves to the substance of Dr. King’s vision for peace, justice and equality for all people.

Measuring the Dream aims to record the progress made towards achieving the dream laid out by Dr. King 50 years ago through data analysis. Data reveals that not enough has changed. The data deals with health, wealth, education and more, looking at where black Americans are in relation to whites.

“Fifty years later we should be at 1 [parity], not because whites in America are doing worse, but because blacks in America are doing better,” Botchwey explained.

The concern is not just with black Americans, but with equity in our society as a whole. “The educational, economic and racial divide is as pronounced as ever -- giving rise to groups like Black Lives Matter and inspiring women, LGBTQ and other groups to rally for equal treatment under the law,” Botchwey and Young said. “Cries for affordable housing, quality schools, LGBTQ/Trans rights have become a mainstay in today’s political climate.”

On March 15, the Measuring the Dream Symposium took place, gathering prominent community leaders to review research data with a discussion on how far we’ve come and how far we have to go. The Symposium was held at the First Congregational Church in Atlanta. It featured a panel consisting of those who worked alongside Dr. King and other community leaders including: Ambassador Andrew Young, Bernard Layfette, Representative Park Cannon, and Mary Hooks.

To learn more about the Measuring the Dream project, click here. To read more about the Measuring the Dream Symposium, click here.

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