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Words From Walstead: The Power of a Dream

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We all dream. Some of us dream of sandy beaches, I dram of whizzing down the ski slopes. But people in the past and present have dreamt much bigger. They had dreams that brought and will bring change to the world. In this article, I will explore the ‘big’ ideas of three dreamers who had dreams that changed, or might still bring change the world, for the benefit of all.

Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln had a dream to end slavery in the USA. This was ‘big’. He believed that everyone was equal and that a man should not be forced to do another’s work. He wanted to abolish something that would put a huge dent in slave owner’s business but, give freedom and hope to all the slaves in the USA. This was a life changing dream for many.

Born in 1809 to a poor family, he educated himself, became a lawyer and went on to become the Whig party leader. He was angered by the Kansas-Nebraska Acts opening of the prairie lands to slavery, became a leader of the new Republican Party and made it grow. He received national attention in the 1858 debates against the opposition party leader and was catapulted into the presidency in 1860.

Lincoln initially used his powers gained during the civil war to free all slaves still part of the rebellion as they came under Union control. He did not focus immediately on abolishing slavery in its entirety but focussed on the prevention of the creation of new slave states. In 1862 he ended slavery in the District of Columbia. He then used his role as Commander in Chief to issue an emancipation, disguised as a military measure, which made all slaves in Confederate areas free forever under US law. The last slaves were freed on June the 19th 1865. Sadly, this was a sight that Lincoln did not see as he was assassinated.

Lincoln made an important mark in the world and will never be forgotten for following his dream.

Today, we still remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. for the power of his dream. Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. was a moral and spiritual leader who played a great role in the American Civil Rights Movement, making a mark on America’s history. He was a persuasive and powerful American figure who stood up for African American rights.

Between 1957-1968, he travelled, speaking for the advocation of civil rights, freedom and dignity for everyone. He dreamt that one day black people or people of colour would have the same rights as white people. Dr King used his hate of injustice to power his speeches. Because of his activism and leadership for civil rights for African Americans, he son the Nobel Peace Prize aged only 35.

King’s most famous speech states, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged on the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” This speech was given at a rally of 250,000 people calling for civil and economic rights for African Americans. His speeches, and his emotional delivery continue to inspire today.

Greta Thunberg. At a very young age, Greta had perhaps the most important dream. She dreams of saving the world by halting climate change. Even though she has been mocked by some world leaders, including Donald Trump, she continues: she believes in change.

At an early age, Greta convinced her parents to become vegan and her mother to stop flying for work. In May 2018, she won a climate change essay writing competition in her local paper, and three months later decided to start protesting in front of the Swedish parliament building. This meant missing school on a Friday, but her parents again supported her. Pictures of her with her banners went viral on the internet and by December 2018 she had more than 20,000 supporters from all around the world.

In April of 2019, Greta appeared alongside Extinction Rebellion and in September she made her way across the Atlantic to the United Nations Conference in New York, travelling by boat with zero emissions. There she stated that the world was relying on young people to sort out the mess the older generations have made. She famously accused older generations of stealing her dreams and her childhood with their empty words, “How dare you?” she asked.

These are three very different people, with three very big dreams, making three massive impacts on society. History tells us there have been many world figures, but these three have brought about massive change with the power of a dream.