In 1963, he had a dream of equality, and of justice — a dream that a part of mankind would be treated as the precious human beings that they are.
It’s been over 50 years since we first heard that dream, and now I too have a dream for another segment of mankind. A segment of mankind that so many in the world have abandoned in the name of “tolerance,” a segment that has been forgotten where the struggles are less intense, and a segment of mankind that represents what may very well be the greatest ongoing civil rights struggle of our time. I have a dream for this segment of mankind.
I have a dream to be more than a “pretty face,” “a good wife,” or a mother.
I have a dream that we will be judged not on our appearance but on our intellectual, physical and moral capacity.
I have a dream that we won’t be expected to have children or get married to have a meaningful fulfilling life.
I have a dream that we will not be famous for our sexualization or how low cut our dresses are on the red carpet.
I have a dream that we will not be shamed by our sexual choices in America, or slaughtered for our sexual partners here in the Middle East.
I have a dream that we will not be used, or resort to being used, in movies or images for the gratification of our fellow human beings.
I have a dream that our fellow human beings will not even think of violating our bodies against our will…
…And if they do, I dream they will be the ones whose past and present is put on trial instead of ours.
I have a dream that we will not be bothered by our fellow human beings when wearing tight pants or a short skirt on the street, whether in New York, Tokyo, or Cairo…
…And that we will never be asked to “switch seats” on a bus or airplane because of the outrageous intolerance from some of our fellow human beings.
I have a dream that not a single one of us will know what it feels like to have to put on extra make up to hide a black eye, or wear long-sleeves to cover a bruise.
I have a dream that we will no longer be ashamed of our bodies – no matter how perfect or imperfect they are…
…And I dream that we will be celebrated for aging naturally, instead of torturing ourselves to fit an unrealistic ideal for the gratification of someone else.
I have a dream that our worth will not be seen in our “purity,” our modest dress or behavior, or our father’s name, but in who we are as human beings.
I have a dream that we will always see our bodies for what they are: ours.
I have a dream that we will be recognized, and will recognize ourselves as masters of our own fate.
I have a dream that our fellow human beings will not oppress and demean us by forcing, encouraging, or praising the wearing of clothing that hides the female form.
I have a dream that we will be free to speak our minds, and to talk back when our fellow human beings are wrong.
I have a dream that we will not be treated as “prizes” to be won.
I have a dream that no fellow human being will view us as an object to attain or even to purchase — whether ill-intentioned or not.
I have a dream that no little girl will be mutilated or harmed anywhere in the world in the name of any religion that emboldens a twisted backwards idea that we “cannot control our sexual desires.”
I have a dream that we will not be scared to resist, to say no, or speak up when injustice against one of us is done.
I have a dream that all human beings will understand that respect means we are your equal, we are not subservient to you, and we do not need to obey you regardless of what any religious texts say.
I have a dream that the world will listen when we say the struggle for civil rights is very real and is in fact becoming more intense.
I have a dream that the West will not forget how this struggle is raging on outside their comfortable borders.
I have a dream that we will be heard and seen not just as “women” but as “people.”
I have a dream that those of you who share my dream will speak up.
I am a woman, I am a person, and I have a dream.