Eighty-five years ago today, a child was born that would forever change the way America saw equality.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born into a culture where the color one’s skin held more weight than the merit of one’s character. Not satisfied with the status-quo, he sought to change it.
He refused to believe that because of the color of his skin he was somehow inferior. With dignity and discipline he advocated for the rights of all people, regardless of their physical anatomy.
Because of his relentless pursuit of equality, we celebrate him once a year. We write speeches and do book reports on how he changed the world for the better. His name is found on street signs and schools and everyone knows that he once had a dream.
A dream that his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
And today, in America, that’s true. It is no longer justifiable to discriminate on the basis on skin color.
By appealing to our humanity, he advocated for equal rights among all. Claiming that “now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
But the simple fact of the matter is that justice is not a reality for all of God’s children. As a whole the planet has made great strides in the alleviation of racial discrimination, but has neglected the women.
After traveling this big, beautiful Earth I could not even attempt to claim that equality is true for women.
Equality in India doesn’t look like a woman being raped because she was wearing blue jeans. Equality in Africa doesn’t look like girls being mutilated because it is a cultural tradition. Equality in Asia doesn’t involve a woman being raped and then being forced to sell her body. Equality in Pakistan doesn’t involve a girl being shot in the face for standing up for her right to an education.
And though it pains me deeply to say it, equality isn’t even true for here in America.
Though I am immensely thankful to grow up in culture where I was encouraged to go to school and to dream dreams. A country where there are consequences to rape and physical violence unlike so many other countries the world over. I simply cannot ignore the way culture presents women.
Equality does not look like women be sexualized in every ad that we see, cut down to various body parts airbrushed and contorted to appear more desirable. We shame women like Miley Cyrus who are behaving exactly how culture has told her to behave. Equality doesn’t look like men being paid more than women for the same job. I am sure I have offended a lot of people by saying this, but I think that Benjamin Nolot says it better than I can, please watch this talk by him to really understand where I am coming from.
Or better yet, read Half the Sky if you really want to be informed.
You see, just like Martin Luther King, I have a dream. But my dream reaches far beyond America and extends to the world.
I have a dream where women and young girls don’t have to worry about being raped. I have a dream where women are seen for the content of their character and not the size of their body parts. I have a dream where women are empowered in whatever job they choose.
Because the simple fact of the matter is that women are not viewed as equals in the world’s society and that must change.
So this one goes out to you Martin Luther King. Thank you for showing us that equality is possible and that change can happen.
Thank you for showing me that dreams can come true.