Prime Minister Perry G. Christie spoke to thousands of people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Wednesday, August 28, 2013, as persons around the world marked the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous and thought provoking “I Have a Dream” speech.
Prime Minister Christie told the people assembled that Martin Luther King Jr. holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of Bahamians, because he spent time both in Nassau and in the tiny island of Bimini where, in 1964, while on a brief vacation, he composed his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
The Prime Minister said, “On a clear night the lights of metropolitan Miami are, in fact, visible from the shores of Bimini, dramatising the closeness between our two nations. We are, after all, less than 50 miles apart.”
He added that however close that may be in the literal sense, The Bahamas and the United States, in the geography of the soul, are even closer than that.
“The common ties of history, of ethnicity and culture, of migration, and of a common heritage of struggle bind us together not just as neighbours nor even only as friends but as true brothers and sisters.”
Prime Minister Christie was one of the many distinguished individuals who spoke at the Anniversary. Other speakers included President of the United States Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Sir Sidney Poitier.
The Prime Minister said, “As momentous as this occasion is, we do a grave injustice to ourselves and to all humanity if we leave here unresolved to carry on the great and noble struggle for which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life.
“The blood of this good man shed in Memphis still cries out across the years, cries out to each and every one of us wherever we may be, all across the world to stand up for freedom, to stand up for human dignity, to stand up for equality, to stand up for social justice, to stand up for right and not for wrong, for peace and not for war, for love and not for hate.”
The Prime Minister said in Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the March, people from around the world should mark success in their common struggle for freedom by looking at their children and see them growing in self-confidence and in the conviction that in their society there is a place for them; a place where they will prosper, meeting the practical needs of their families while still having the time and the means to enjoy their lives; a place where they can live at peace with one another, knowing that they are respected and appreciated.
“When our children know that they are not deemed to be disposable and expendable because they are differently abled; or because they are female; or because their skins are one colour and not another; or because they speak one language and not another, or heed one religion and not another, or practice one culture and not another, then and only then will freedom ring from the mountaintop that loomed so large in the dreams and vision of the man we honour here today.
“When each of our children has real opportunity for ownership in his or her economy, and has a real voice in who governs and makes decisions in his or her society, then and only then will we have achieved victory in the struggles for prosperity, for peace, and for justice of which Dr. King spoke so passionately 50 years ago today.”
Prime Minister Christie said that Martin Luther King Jr.’s earthly life may have ended on a Memphis balcony in the sudden, fleeting flash of gunfire but the flame of his Great Dream endures. “It burns ever bright, all across the globe.”
He said, “May the light of that flame continue to guide us as we go forth now, each in his own way, each in his own nation, to continue the work of Dr. King Jr.
“In that way, and in no other, we keep his dream alive and make it our own.”
Bahamas Information Services