Martin Luther King Jr. was, and forever will be, a symbol of tolerance and equality. For those of us who don’t know who Martin Luther King is, here’s a very short recap. He’s the guy who led the fight for Civil Rights and race equality, back in the 60’s. He’s the guy that preached peace and tolerance. Protest instead of violence. Equality for all. He’s the guy that stood in front of 250,000 people at Lincoln Memorial and spoke his heart.
He’s the guy that had a dream.
Fast forward to nearly 50 years since he was shot dead in 1968. I’m not sure that the great MLK would be happy with what he would see today. I’m not sure that this is what he fought for, what he dedicated his life to, what he died for.
Yes. Many strides have been made towards equality. But we’re not there yet. Tolerance is key. Yet, it seems that we’ve forgotten how to accept each other, respect each other, tolerate the differences and use love and kindness, instead of fear and hate.
2016 was a rough year.
The presidential election in the U.S. brought the racial rift to new heights. It didn’t help much with gay rights, immigrants or gender equality either. Terrorism has risen to new peaks, causing refugees to search for new shelter, and locals turning their back on them. However, the terror hasn’t exactly given the Muslims a good rep. The bad blood between conservatives and liberals, right and left, isn’t fading away anytime soon. Cops shooting young African-Americans. Anti-Semitism presenting itself freely. Violence between fans in sports arenas. Ashton Kutcher making 3 times more than Natalie Portman. It all adds up. Really, it’s a sad mess of a world that we live in.
But 2017 is a new year.
And I hope that this year we can remember that special speech that MLK delivered all those years ago. Let’s put aside our differences and search for common ground. I’m not naïve. And I’m not saying let’s all hold hands and sing “kumbaya” around a campfire.
But I am an optimist.
And I do believe that no matter the race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion or whatever else defines who you are, we can put it all aside and respect each other. Tolerance is key. And a world without tolerance is a world full of hate. Violence. War.
If you believe in God, does it really matter that the guy next to you also believes in God, but in a different way? To each his own. White, black, brown, yellow or even green. Why should skin color define who we are? (If you’re green, I’m running away…sorry!) If you’re a liberal, let’s agree to disagree. You should get paid according to your work, regardless whether you wear a suit or a skirt. I don’t care who you sleep with at night, everyone deserves to be loved. We are all equal, we are all the same. I dare you to show me someone who isn’t born naked. Someone who won’t ever take a final breath.
So, in the spirit of MLK, let’s learn to tolerate, preach acceptance, love instead of hate and fight for equality.
He had a dream. Let’s make it a reality.