“Have we achieved the dream?” asked Tyrone Fuller, Jr., in his Martin Luther King Day presentation at Rappahannock Community College on January 16. Most of the audience answered, “No,” saying that although progress has been made, there is still much to be done. Achieving the dream is an ongoing process, they said.
In reply Fuller pointed out, “The purpose of a dream is to give someone hope.” Since making the speech was part of King’s campaign to gain access to economic equality and freedom, from that historical perspective the dream has been fulfilled. We all, Fuller said, must be a part of that dream in order to help each person become the solution to the challenges we continue to face.
Fuller discussed several issues with the audience, including the reasons for segregation, how King’s speech changed people’s perceptions, and how each of us have helped to keep the dream alive. He said that King’s ideas about segregation, aggravation, and determination must all be addressed to ensure equal treatment for all people. And he agreed with King that the change had to be achieved peacefully.
“We move forward,” said Fuller, “not by amplifying the negative, but by reinforcing the positive.” As in driving a car, he said, one should focus on what can be seen through the windshield, not in the rear-view mirror. His concluding thought was, “Always strive to be a better person than you were the day before.”
The recipient of two Bronze Stars for valor, Fuller has over 35 years of experience in various leadership roles in the field of military human resources and logistical operations, culminating in his present position as director of military personnel human resource at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.