"I have a dream that my four little 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.
I could not help but wonder -- especially after protests in support of six African-American students following the Jena incident -- why equality doesn't exist in today's world.
Inclusion, the acceptance of each and every individual, is a hot topic of discussion, especially for presidential candidates. Despite the fact that a woman, African-American and Latino are viable contenders for president and depict America's ability to embrace diversity, disparity still rings loud and clear in our county, and legislation is required to protect individuals from exclusion.
As of the last U.S. Census, the racial makeup of Buffalo was 37.2 percent African-American. Will a new president really influence policy decisions that reduce racial prejudice, sexual discrimination and class distinctions?
Maybe the voice of change requires a home-based approach, instead of letting the folks in national government make decisions that impact our community and families. If each and every one of us made a conscious choice to teach our children to accept differences, imagine what a world we would live in. Shouldn't we ensure that our youth are equipped with the knowledge for a better tomorrow, unify our differences in our community and reach out to those who may appear dissimilar?
I speak with conviction because my eyes witnessed a locale where affection for humanity exists, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference and religious roots.
The atmosphere was lively; birds flew in and out of the open-air structure, dogs barked in the streets, a drumbeat consumed the atmosphere that made you tap your feet and the man with the pearly white teeth said: "In God's eye, we are all alike, let's strive to see him in everyone and everywhere, today and tomorrow."
One look outside the church would be enough to upset the stomach; shacks of poverty lined the streets. However, inside the church, one would never know the woes of the congregation belting out songs of love and peace.
A young boy, the color of a striking blend of dark roasted coffee, crossed the aisle with eyes of certainty, approached me and squeezed my hand with all his might, as if to say we are the same, although my sex, age and skin tone made me appear different.
In this church, there was no class distinction, color differentiation or undertones directed at those who appeared different. The people present shared a common purpose -- to celebrate the gift of life, the good and bad times that form a person and their daily experiences.
If only the effervescent spirit in that shoe box-sized church could be bottled and sprinkled throughout America. Republicans and Democrats would relinquish their disputes, men would reject their desire to increase arms of war, neighbors would help those in their own back yard and just maybe more love would exist in this world. So why can't we progress forward and embrace each other's differences?
Don't always judge a book by its cover. The heart wasn't created to differentiate between colors, shapes and sizes but instead formed with a capacity to see that it is our differences that make America the land of the free and the home of the brave.