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MLKs Voice Echoes Through Oakland

What Divides and Unites Us on the Anniversary of “I Have a Dream”

Fifty-seven years ago, on Aug. 28, 1963, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood at a podium in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Before him, 250,000 people were standing in the heat of the Washington Mall, listening. King leaned forward and said, “I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.”

It was the beginning of the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, which King delivered at the heart of the March on Washington. This summer, that protest seems both far away and eerily close at hand. Black-and-white photos of the 1963 march show protesters hefting signs that read, “We Demand an End to Police Brutality Now!” and “We March for Jobs for all Now!” This year, the same messages have been hoisted by protesters here in California following a wave of police brutality and virus deaths across the country.

With the anniversary of his speech coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, here in Oakland, I see reminders of his legacy year-round. In 1957, King led a rally in the Oakland Auditorium, and he returned in 1967. His assassination shook the city, and in the years since, leaders have renamed Grove Street “Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.” and dedicated a branch of the Oakland Public Library in his honor. I pass these landmarks all the time, and they’ve felt particularly poignant lately.

It makes me incredibly sad to see that the racism, brutality, and discrimination King spoke out against in his “I Have a Dream” speech are still happening today. But I think that all we can do is stay positive. We can’t change the past, but we can work proactively for a better future. Ultimately, I think King wanted people to get along. He didn’t want conflict, but as we’ve seen these last few months, sometimes conflict is necessary to reach the end goal. Fighting for what matters can be a good thing.

I know that it is insignificant compared to the things King struggled for, but my team and I here at the Law Offices of Jason Estavillo are fighting for equality in our own way. We believe that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of their race. And we believe in our own dream — the American dream of homeownership. We want everyone to have a roof over their heads, to be able to protect their families and to have the opportunity to grow from where they are now into a better future. I started this firm to protect that goal, and my team and I have been fighting for it ever since. Between the pandemic and the protests, people need our help now more than ever, and we’re working around the clock to provide it.

At the end of the day, we have a lot more in common than what divides us. If you’re worried about losing your home and you need help to ward off foreclosure, my team and I are here for you. You won’t see racism or discrimination in our office. We believe that every American deserves a chance to achieve their dreams.