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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I, Too, Have a Dream

Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Sen Yang
Jan 23, 2008

President Clinton, Governor Huckabee, Senator Isakson, Mayer Franklin, and all honorable guests:

In 1992, I started my graduate study at Georgia Tech. I landed in Atlanta, a great city best known as the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am honored to call this great city my second home in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And "Georgia is on my mind".

But when I first arrived, I knew little about Dr. King. I very much wanted to return to China. Everything was so unfamiliar to me. But then I noticed something I had never before experienced.

I noticed that people in this country could say what they think without being arrested by the thought police. I noticed that people went to church on Sundays and that all people were free to practice their religion. I never saw people being arrested for bible study or for trying to be good and kind citizens of this country.

There was only one word that could describe my feeling: Freedom.

At first, I thoughts these freedoms were easily achieved in the United States. But then as I studied U.S. history, I learned about Martin Luther King Jr., one of the main leaders of the American civil rights movement. I read Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech," and started to have my own dream.

I talked with a friend in China. He asked me what greatest thing was in US. I told him it was "freedom" I enjoy the most. He replied: "You are rich and we are poor. We will chase after 'freedom' when we get more money." I told my friend: "You don't need to be rich to fight for the right to be free." I told him that Dr. King fought for the freedom not because he was rich, but because he had the heart.

I lived in China for 31 years and now in this country for 15 years. I love China and I love the people in China. I want them to be respected and live like human beings. I want them to enjoy the same inalienable rights that God has given to all his people, not only in the United States, but everywhere.

Inspired by Dr. King's "I Have a Dream Speech," I thank him for the sacrifices he endured to help all people in the United States become free. His life is an example for all people everywhere who have a dream of freedom, even me – a humble physicist happy to live as a free man in this country. I too have a dream.

I dream that all people in China will have freedom of thoughts and that they won't have to endure persecution (torture, illegal arrests and interrogation) because of their most deeply held thoughts and ideals.

I dream that all people in China will have freedom of religion and that they won't be persecuted because of what they believe; and that they won't be sentenced to illegal prison terms or subjected to extra judicial killing.

I dream that Falun Gong practitioners in China can one day, walk to the public park and start to do the morning exercise without being beaten by the police.

I have a dream that my daughter can return to China and will not be judged by her belief in Falun Gong, but by her character. And, as Martin Luther King Jr. said:

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to 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!"

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