By Ashley Chapman
Have you ever sat and thought of the things we take for granted?
Flipping on a light switch that illuminates a building.
Grabbing a glass of purified water, whenever we feel thirsty.
Complaining about a five-minute wait for the carhop to run out our orders.
It’s easy to forget just how much we have to be grateful for; just how far society has come. Negatives, by virtue, are more noticeable than positives, simply because positives don’t get in our way.
A few days ago, I was browsing through some events in American history. At one point, during my scrolling, an image popped up on my screen. Instant chills rolled down my spine. It was a picture of a young, black male, hanging lifelessly from a tree. The black and white pixels highlighted the contrast between his sweaty skin and his plaid shirt. A mob of gloating individuals, including peace officers, huddled under his legs. It was if it was the catch of the week. As I looked at this image, many negative thoughts swirled around in my mind.
I ventured into town, later that day, to do some wardrobe browsing. As I walked throughout the store, glancing at price tags and checking sizes, a notion came to my mind. I began to look around me in the store. A Caucasian assistant was laughing hysterically with her African-American manager. A Hispanic gentleman walked slowly behind his chatting wife, who seemed to be speaking an Asian dialect on the phone. Several individuals of unknown ethnic mixes were shopping intently, just as I had been. We were all mingling without the slightest disturbance or protests. I was experiencing something that young, black man only dreamt about.
I believe gratitude is one of the greatest virtues we can obtain. In that moment of noticing and appreciating the coexistence of the shoppers, a quote came to memory. “I have a dream that my four 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.”
Martin Luther King Jr. A man who paved the way for many of the freedoms we – I – enjoy today.
On August 28th, 1963, MLK stood before over 200,000 individuals and gave his famous sermon, “I Have a Dream…” He laid before America the dream of true equality and freedom for all. He interpreted the Founding Fathers correctly when he stated, “When the architects of our Republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – were guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
He never once encouraged segregation, emphases on melanin, or hatred towards America or “whites.” Instead, he promoted brotherhood, the eradication of racial credence, and a unifying love for our country, that was created for us. If anyone knew the founding documents, it was MLK. The more he learned, the more resolved he became that we had not reached the fullness of our American potential.