Divided 1/21

Trump Inauguration, Women’s March. Two events with implications that affect the whole of America.

Even today, half a century after Martin Luther King Jr. made his mark on race and rights, we have not resolved the racial dispute in our country. With the election of Donald J. Trump, the diverse population of the U.S. fears for their rights. Black Lives Matter, the “Alt-Right”, and everything in between has formed. We have a day each year to celebrate MLK, we call ourselves the land of the free, and we just had our first African-American president, but still, there is racial conflict.

Here at my high school, we just had an assembly to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr and his accomplishments. For 40 minutes, we listened to an African-American student give an empowering account through poetry, and a wonderful writer her story of how race has affected her. Even here, we were divided. Here, in a community that accepts people regardless of gender, race, political opinion, there was still some dispute. Handled civilly, a student spoke that the assembly had been falsely advertised, being an anti-Trump tirade rather than a celebration of King’s accomplishments. His opinion had some truth to it: the student had spoken of slavery in centuries past, of racial discrimination, and the author had spoken of her experiences, and the police shootings of black males. He was quickly met by respectful opposition of how the assembly was not an intentional attack on Trump, and that the intent was to celebrate MLK’s acts in servitude for what he believed in.

What I observed here, in a relatively accepting and diverse community was the respectful but divided views on race and equality. What I know, is that things don’t play out the same way in the rest of the country. Although lynchings in the streets no longer happen, and segregation is gone, the traces of a discriminative past still show at times. We have come far since half a century ago, but we must remember to defend our rights, protect the innocent, and never waver in the belief that we are equal, and we are all Americans.

Thank you, and have a great day.

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