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February 5, 2011

Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King`s Death Is a Good Time To Reflect

We all know that there is racism, sexism and all of those other “isms” based on ignorance and arrogance. In our day to days lives we probably come across remnants of those “isms”. A stare that lingers too long, a swift departure from our area, people do little things that let us know that they are uncomfortable with us in one way of another. However, the law is not on their side in most cases at least. There are not laws that allow people to post signs saying that certain groups are not welcome in an establishment. If you assault or murder someone because of their race, religion sexual orientation or gender you will be prosecuted if caught. These are expectations that I hold of the world I live in and I can not imagine a time when these things were not true.

Of course, the truth is, not so long ago, there were no laws to deter people from committing hate crimes. Signs that read Colored and White were used to designate were people could and could not go. Hanging a black man from the branches of a tree was alright in many places. Most people knew who did the lynching but justice turned a blind eye to the situation. It is difficult to believe that people had to die for others to have the right to vote. That there was so much hatred and angry about non whites voting that people were murdered because of it.

Dr. Martin Luther King was one of those people that died for freedom. No just for his race but for all races. The rights that King fought for he wanted to be applied to the world, not just the Jim Crow south or the United States. Judging people based on who they are instead of what they are is a principle that can be used no matter what region of the world you are in. People are not skin or religion or gender or sexual orientation. They are just people with personalities and souls and minds. It is okay to not like someone but when you make that decision base it on what is inside of them, not what’s on the outside.

I know that it is easy to forget that the rights and freedoms that we take for granted were so diligently fought for. But from time to time we all need to stop and remember that the way that we live was not always possible and that people died for us to have the freedoms that we do. It does not matter what your background is. No matter which side of the coin you are on, hatred crippled all. It does not matter if you are the hater or the hated, the energy it takes to hate or be hated destroys everything that is good. Taking a few moments to be thankful for the freedoms that we have and thinking of ways we can share them with others can be a good way to remember that nothing is guaranteed and how lucky we are.

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