After more than a year, I decided to revisit this Blog’s mission statement. So, I went back and reread my About Brad’s Blog . Happily, I found no reason to change the tenets which prompted me to write about Walt’s legacy. While, I have strayed, from time to time, from writing specifically about how we can still find a lot Walt’s influence in Disney products, I continue to try to focus the thoughts and opinions I share with you.
Today, as a nation, we celebrate the life and work of Dr. King. I do not want to suggest that Walt’s work in the entertainment industry has had the far reaching impact that Dr. King’s civil rights continues to have on people all over the world. Nor do I want you to think that I believe a free trip to Disneyland or viewing a Disney movie will solve the problems and divisions in our complicated world.
I am still inspired when I hear or listen to the last part of Dr. King’s, now famous, “I Have a Dream” speech, written 55 years ago:
“. . .when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, August 28, 1963
My first thought is often – if we all thought about those things everyday, instead of just once a year, perhaps, we could change things for the better.
When Walt dedicated I’ts a Small World at Disneyland in 1966, as water from more than 15 countries was poured into the Small World river, he said:
“We wanted to foster a better understanding among nations of the world by showing the dress, the customs, the language, the music and a little of the culture of our neighbors around the world, and we wanted to show it to be a very happy one. I think it’s safe to say that having fun has universal appeal.”
Walt Disney – 1966
So, maybe, the next time you take a ride on It’s a Small World;
Sample the cultures in Epcot’s World Showcase;
Walk through the Harambe Market in Animal Kingdom;
Or watch movies like Mulan, Brave, Cocoa, Moana and even Mary Poppins;
You’ll remember the message hidden in all of the fun, and take a moment to remember what Walt and the Sherman Brothers were reminding us.
“There’s so much that we share,
That it’s time we’re aware,
It’s a small world after all.”
I think that message is an appropriate way to remember and honor Dr. King’s belief that we are all capable of treating each other with kindness and respect.