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Levi Watson
Levi Watson

Your Dreams Are Mine Now

A scandal on campus brings them together, they begin to walk the same path and somewhere along,fall in love . . . But their fight against evil comes at a heavy price, which becomes the ultimate test of their lives. Against the backdrop of dominant campus politics, Your Dreams Are Mine Now is an innocent love story that will tug at your heartstrings.

Your Dreams Are Mine Now


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That means black boys, brown boys and all girls today can dream the same dreams I dreamed a half- century ago, with the same beneficial effects. It means my granddaughter Marlena can dream the same dreams my grandson Oliver can. And it means this amazing thing we call America is continuing to bring still more people into its glorious vision.

There is a lesson in this history: black child, girl child, your dreams are one. Unite behind what you have in common and reject efforts to divide you. Regardless of which of you first wins the symbolic office of the presidency this year, you have both already changed history.

And let me say to all of you, I look forward to this day so much every year, a little time to get away from public service and politics into the realm of the spirit and to accept your prayers. This is a special year for me because, like Senator Mack, I'm not coming back, at least in my present position. And I have given a lot of thought to what I might say today, much of it voiced by my friend of 30 years now, Senator Joe Lieberman, who did a wonderful job for all of us.

Here at home, we still see Asians, blacks, gays, even in one instance last year, children at a Jewish school, subject to attacks just because of who they are. And here in Washington, we are not blameless, for we often, too, forget in the heat of political battle our common humanity. We slip from honest difference, which is healthy, into dishonest demonization. We ignore, when we're all hyped and in a fight, all those Biblical admonitions we profess to believe: that "we all see through a glass darkly"; that, with Saint Paul, we all do what we would not, and we do not do what we would; that "faith, hope, and charity abide, but the greatest of these is charity"; that God says to all of us, not just some, "I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name. You are Mine," all of you.

In my lifetime, our Nation has never had the chance we now have to build the future of our dreams for our children, to be good neighbors to the rest of the world, to live out the admonition of all our faiths. To do it, we will have to first conquer our own demons and embrace our common humanity with humility and gratitude.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I thank you, Joe, for that very kind and generous introduction. It is a great pleasure to be here this morning. I am especially honored to be on the stage with Darrell Green and Danny La Bry of the Washington Scholarship Fund and with Ted Forstmann, a very dear friend of mine, and especially with Joe Robert, a few gentlemen who have been blessed by success in this life and who know that part of living a good life is to share that success with others who are coming along, to share that success with those who are wondering if the American dream is there for them. And both Ted and Joe know that if they are going to be faithful to this nation, if they are going to be faithful to the system that brought them such success, they have to invest in that system. And that's what they have been doing. That's what Darrell has been doing. That's when Danny has been doing. All for the purpose of bringing along a new generation of youngsters who can find their own path to success and to happiness and to prosperity in this wonderful country of ours.

And the simple reason for wanting to be with you is I wanted to look at your faces; I wanted to see that sense of pride and accomplishment that you should have today. I wanted to let you know that we are counting on you. I wanted to let you know that even though I've had some success in life, all of the other people on this stage have had success in life, the greatest success we really enjoy in our life is if we help the next generation get ahead. You are that next generation. (Applause.)

But I didn't start here. I started in South Bronx section of New York City, a little black kid living at a time when everybody said little black kids are tenth class citizens and you are really not as good as anyone else. But my parents refused to believe that. My teachers refused to believe that. People in my neighborhood, my family members, refused to believe that. What they said to me is you're as good as anyone. You are as good as anyone if you are willing to believe in your own heart you're as good as anyone. You can get anywhere you want in this life if you believe in yourself, but if you go beyond that, if you educate yourself, if you prepare yourself, if you do those things that you know will put you on a path to success.

And so, notwithstanding the obstacles that might have been before me because of my color or my immigrant background or the circumstances in which I was raised, my parents taught me, as your family members are teaching you today, not to let any of that be a hindrance to you. Because if you believe in yourself and if you have people like these and people like your parents who believe in you, you can go anywhere you want, you can be anything you want, as long as you dream, as long as you believe, and as long as you do what's necessary, as long as you prepare yourself.

But my parents wouldn't let me quit, my heart wouldn't let me quit. I was going to keep going. That's the advice to you this morning: keep going. These people have invested in you. They've given part of their treasure, part of their love, part of their lives, to you. Your obligation now is to reward them, reward them in the simplest, easiest way possible, by continuing to strive for excellence, by continuing to believe in yourself, by continuing to improve yourself.

Master the English language. Make sure you do not recede from mastering the English language. Don't step back from it. Don't be afraid of it. Master the English language. Learn to read it and write it and speak it correctly. And then you can absorb all kinds of knowledge and information, learn about science and math and so many other things. Make sure that you are not afraid of the hard challenges that your educational experience will put before you. Go for the hard courses. Go for the A's. Don't let anybody tell you you can't get that A. Don't let anybody tell you you're wasting your time studying; come on out here and do this. You're like somebody you shouldn't be; you ought to be like us and not study and not get ahead. Don't you believe it, because five years from now you'll be on your way to college, on your way out of college. They'll still be sitting on the street corner. (Applause.)

Get that education, master the English language, master the other subjects that are out there. Be kind to each other. Be selfless. Make sure you give back. Make sure that you do early in life what these adults have done for you. Start to give back. Start to share. Start to help others coming along. You're young, but you already are prepared to be role models to your younger sisters and brothers and the other kids on the street. They'll look up to you and say, "Is that the way to go? Should I really stay in school? Should I really take advantage of this? Should I really get my high school diploma and move on to a degree?"

They'll look at you. And if they see you are successful in life, they will follow you. So you are already role models. Make sure you carry that role model responsibility in your heart. I want you to stay away from those things that are wrong and bad in life. You know what they are. Your parents have taught you. Your teachers have taught you. Whether it's drugs or getting involved in things that you know are wrong. Always have that conscience kick in, that sense of shame.

One thing that kept me straight coming up was I had this sense of shame that my parents drilled into me. Don't do those things that are wrong because those things will hurt you; but, more importantly, you'll shame yourself; and above all, don't you ever shame your family. So always have that little mental circuit breaker, that little light bulb that goes off when somebody is about to tempt you with something, say no, wrong, I'd shame myself, I'm going to do right. I'm going to build my reputation, I'm going to be a person of character, I'm going to be a person that when people look at they say, "That's a person with a reputation. That's a person of character."

I need you in the State Department. I need you to think about Foreign Service. I want to see you come out of those colleges and say, "I want to be an Ambassador to a foreign country. I want to serve my country overseas." But wherever your path takes you, whether it's into the Foreign Service, whether it's into the military, whether it's into teaching, always, above all, believe in yourself. Believe to the depth of your heart that you can be anything you want to be as long as you're willing to dream big, have ambitions, do the right things in life, get all the education you can. And remember, remember above all, you live in a country that provides you such opportunities. 041b061a72


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