This month, America celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day – a day for people to remember the fight for diversity and equality. King was a man who had a dream that people would forget their differences and live together in tranquility.
The struggle for all mankind to be equal did not begin during the civil rights era. Since the dawn of time, things like religion, race, sexuality or ethnicity have all been reasons for people to discriminate against each other.
Recently, I watched the film adaptation of the well-known book by Harper Lee, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Set in Georgia during the Great Depression era, it tells the story of a lawyer who defends a black man accused of rape in a court of law. Although all evidence clearly proves the man’s innocence, the all-white jury’s verdict suggests otherwise.
As I reflected on this movie, I thought of how ignorant all of us are. We put lives at stake all because of something as insignificant as skin color. If we only took the time to get to know people for who they really are instead of only seeing their label or stereotype.
Diversity should be embraced and not a cause for starting wars. In fact, wars are started by people and their inability to accept others’ differences.
Having influential people such as Martin Luther King, Jr. to wake us up and help us understand that we are all not so different is a beautiful thing. We all have eyes and hearts and breathe the same air – we are all human. No matter what color my hair, or the tone of my skin, I am human – I eat, breathe and live the same as anyone else.
It’s interesting to look back in history and see how far America has come – from slavery to segregation – to now a black president in office. Although this is progress, there is still much more work to be done concerning discrimination and equality.
My hope is that we take holidays, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and remember why we are here in America. We are here to be free and embrace one another. Why waste precious time in our lives trying to hurt another person? In the end, we only hurt ourselves.