The world is a very different place today than what it was fifty years ago when Dr. King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C. It’s true. Progress has been made. Yet, in many ways, the same problems of race that plagued our country years ago still exist. I don’t want to oversimplify a complex situation, but today I am pausing and thinking about how we can make a difference in the lives of others, particularly in the lives of those who bring a different skin color, ethnicity or religious background to the table. A few simple thoughts for an important day . . .
1. It’s always right to bring respect to others, even when we disagree, even when we don’t understand, and even when we hardly know how to respond to a challenging situation.
2. It’s always right to celebrate the colorful differences of the human family, while never letting go of the idea that we are, in the words of Maya Angelou, “more alike than unalike.”
3. It’s always right to keep in mind that racism is like an iceberg, and what we see on the surface (personal feelings of racism) is small compared to what is below the surface (systemic and social practices of injustice).
4. It’s always right to stand up for the worth and value of our neighbor, not as a gesture of pity, but as a recognition that everyone deserves dignity.
5. It’s always right to share the dream of a better humanity, whether that be marching on Washington, protesting for immigration reform, or being kind to the person who sacks our groceries in the store.