"Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream." The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. died on a Thursday in 1968. Before the news broke, the deepest thought I had that day was about that night’s episode of “Bewitched.”

Even then, I was a television junkie. As a latchkey kid, I’d come home from school and settle down in front of the TV with my favorite soaps: “Another World,” “Days of our Lives,” “Edge of Night”…

Before I’d even entered my teens, I was savvy enough to know some of the acting was over the top. But I was engaged by the melodrama of soaps as impresarios are by opera. To love soap opera - appropriately labeled - is to adore the boldness, the absurdity, the passion, the surprise.

I didn’t know that dreams were being born as I watched “Secret Storm.” I didn’t realize that with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, I would gain a sense of purpose and responsibility. And despite his death - because of his life - I believed dreams could come true.

Dr. King had a dream that black and white children would play together. I’ve lived that dream as a teenager and as an adult. He had a dream that his children “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I’ve lived that dream as well.

I was so blessed growing up in the shadow of this legendary man because he proved that one person could make a difference. He proved you could change the world by simply walking down a street - or sitting on a bus - in your own truth.

It was with these lessons I learned from Dr. King, my parents, family and teachers that I became one of the first black women to graduate from the Carnegie-Mellon University directing program.

With these lessons, I became the first black woman to direct in daytime television on (collectively) four networks - NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS.

With these lessons, I stand before you today knowing you have dreams you’ve put aside. Dreams you’ve labeled inaccurately as “impossible.” I would challenge you to change the label.

I would challenge you to look at the miracle Dr. King manifested - changing the minds and hearts of a nation - and know that anything is possible. It doesn’t matter what color you are, what gender, what nationality, what religion. Dreams - fueled by effort, nourished with hope, grounded in love - come true.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dansby's book "How Did You Get That Job? My Dream Jobs and How They Came True" outlines the process she was fired-quit from her law office job and made a career change into television. Susan Dansby has received four Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy® Awards and the 2007 Writers Guild of America Award for her continuing work as a writer on the CBS daytime drama, AS THE WORLD TURNS. In addition, she is a professional television director. Her credits include GUIDING LIGHT, GHOSTWRITER, SESAME STREET and GENERAL HOSPITAL. Susan has also worked in casting Off-Broadway and Broadway productions and various television shows. She holds a BFA in Drama from Carnegie-Mellon University. For a free ecourse on how to find your dream career, go to www.ugetthatjob.com..