Jan 16, 2010

Unity through Education and Engagement

By Dulce Juarez, USSA Intern

“ We must all learn to live together as brothers. Or we will all perish together as fools” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The other day I was in the car, on my way to the USSA office, while I listened to the Democracy Now radio show. The topic?……..Drum roll please….. White Supremacist militia groups!

While listening to the show I began to go through a series of emotions. I felt frustrated, scared, and confused about what era I was living in? Was I back in the 1960’s? Immediately, a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. appeared in my mind. I remembered the discrimination, the prosecution, dehumanization and the injustice he and thousands of people faced. People died, sacrificed their lives, and suffered tremendously, all so that you and I could sit and learn in a class together, so that you and I could eat in a restaurant together, so that I could work with a wonderful diverse staff, and overall the people of the Civil Rights Movements fought so that today in the year 2010 we could all be treated with the dignity and equal respect that every human being deserves. Apparently others do not know and do not believe this.

My time in Washington D.C. as an Intern for the USSA Students Of Color campus Diversity Project, has allowed me to reflect on how much work we as students need to do, on our college campuses and in our communities in order to keep Dr. Kings DREAM ALIVE!

I write this as a call of action to all college students and young professionals. We need to value the precious opportunity to live in a country where DIVERSITY is prominent. We may not engage much with our peers of different ethnicity backgrounds. Maybe it ‘s because we don’t really know them. But the truth is we are all on this earth together, in this country together, and in this generation together, I am sure we have something in common. I urge you for the sake of continuing to build UNITY among people of all diverse communities, and to keep Dr. Kings dream alive, I ask that you take the time to learn something new about one of your peers who may not be the same color of your skin. You may come to realize that aside from the exterior, you really are not that different. You may bond by the simple fact that you both can’t afford college, that your financial aid is not enough, that you both can not find jobs, and that you both have faced discrimination! By the way, these are all great conversation starters. WINK WINK!

Getting to know a person of a different community from yours, may seem like a simple step towards taking action for working towards UNITY! But if you ask me, its perhaps the most courageous, and hardest things to do. That seems to be case for the racists militia groups that you are about to view... The reason they are the way they are, is because of lack of education (lets pass student aid reform!) so that they can be educated! Also, many racists people do not know any better, that what they have known all their lives. Perhaps they do not see how alike we all really are. WE ARE ALL HUMANS!!! ON ONE EARTH!!! So we better learn to get along. It is up to our generation to show the world that UNITY among all people is a possibility. I like Dr. King have the DREAM, the vision that all people will some day be living in peace, going to school and living life with dignity and respect.

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