By: Daniel Otero
“Early morning, April four… Shot rings out in the Memphis sky… Free at last, they took your life… They could not take your pride… In the name of love…” (The Unforgettable Fire, U2, 1984)
As April 4th comes along, these words sound and echo gorgeously inside my mind. These are to remember when a beautiful human being like Gandhi back in India came to make a difference in American Civil Rights. His name, of course, was Martin Luther King, Jr. Just 39 years old, he made a bold statement in society as the leader of the Civil Rights Movement (1953 to 1968) and left his mark eternal. Winner of the Nobel Peace Price, with his stance on non-violence he made a difference in the ‘muddy waters’ of American politics.
Going back in time, for all of those that didn’t live it! America was deeply segregated in good ol’ Dixie (the South). The north was no better, with its racial divides amongst its neighbourhoods.
Recalling a time when there was this ‘hardcore’ racial-divide. Mostly a racial war black vs. white, it was and still can be considered the destructive poison of prejudice and racism; looking back when it was unsafe or even dangerous to cross from one neighbourhood into another. There was this racial divide: if the colour of your skin was different, your religion, race or gender. One was to easily meet with racial slurs, bigotry, hate, a beating or even death!
However, other than Martin Luther King, Jr., it was Rosa Parks whom brought these evil plagues to light. And sadly today, 2015, has humanity learnt its lesson?
Well, speaking in truth, the world has become a better place, and still human beings kill each other over land and race. People still prefer to employ white over black, pushing aside merits and focusing prejudicially on ethnicity, age or skin colour. Women are treated lesser than men and paid 25 percent less in the work place (Lewis, Live Science, 2013). Haven’t we learnt anything?
Can we do better? That is why I value education and travel, because it brings an open mindedness and these issues into the sunshine!
Equal rights and human rights are one of the same. We are not born racist, but we are sadly taught to do so at home. It’s time to breakout of the mould and become people of higher standards.
Now, it’s important to understand one lesson of truth—we must treat others as we would like to be treated! In other words, in a fair way…
Using the following words: empathy, tolerance and understanding… Or if we could only understand by walking in another person’s shoes! We could understand minorities far better in these contemporary times.
“There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he less savage than the other savages.” – Mark Twain
Yes, we have become a great country. And still, we have a lot to answer on how the police treat’s minorities. For now, let’s continue the good fight, and open our hearts to learning and becoming greater individuals.
I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream – one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, “We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream…
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963)
Martin Luther King foretold what would happen to America in the following decades. Sadly, through this speech he also foretold of his violent end. He wouldn’t live to see it, but Rev. Jesse Jackson did, when he cried bitter-sweet tears on the day of Barrack Obama’s election [back] in 2008.