The community assembled here, Steele says, has been enjoying the “I have a dream” dream for two generations now. Civil rights, equality on paper, the familiar story. But, of course, dreams do not reflect reality. When you were growing up, he asks the audience, did the American Dream feel like part of you, like it was your birthright? For many it did, he says. For many more it did not, “and as you and I know, that dream has often been delayed and sometimes denied — and until our children are born thinking the American dream is their birthright, it will remain that way.” Moreover, he adds, it will remain that way until the children have access to fair and affordable housing, access to credit and capital, and voting machines that work. (“You didn’t think I knew about that, huh?” Knowing laughter. )

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