EQUALITY. We hear it, say it, and throw the word around as if we were players in a frenetic March Madness basketball game. But the battle for equality is a long one, rooted deep in our American history, and while there have been wins along the way, this game is far from over.
What exactly is equality? Equality often depends on an individual’s perspectives, as life experiences can dictate its meanings. In spite of our different perspectives, however, we must find the way to common ground, to know that we each can and must support one another as we endeavor to build a more fair and just society.
We’re all born into different circumstances, which for some begs the question as to whether individual circumstances entitle one to more or less when it comes to human rights. According to the UDHR Article 1: ¨All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.¨
The fight for equality is found across an overwhelming spectrum of identities and needs: gender, race, age, income, education, marital status, disability, religion, sexual orientation – just to name a few. One could add equal access to voting and the right to live in a clean and healthy environment. There are so many fronts on which equality must still be fought for and won.
How do we ensure that all voices are heard? First and foremost, we must be informed. We must take the time to learn the unfamiliar, to speak up, to join together and to act. If we are to effect positive change, doing what’s right is non-negotiable. We simply must.
Dr. Martin Luther King was a man of honor, integrity and faith, which gave him the courage to act peacefully for the greater good of society; in essence, to do what is right. He paid the ultimate price for the things he believed in, that he loved, and that he hoped our world would become: One voice, unified in the fight for equality for all.
¨The time is always right to do what is right.” Dr. King’s words, actions and influence can inspire us to keep up the fight for that which we value, for fairness and equality, and because one person can make a huge difference, and a committed community can change the world.
The UDHR is a lovely, succinct and easily accessible document. Please take a moment to read it.