Happy MLK Day

MLK

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And I'm so thankful for all that he has done, not only for me, but for everyone regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.

It's important to remember that all the privileges and rights we have today were fought by others who did not have those same liberties. This goes for every single person who calls themselves an American.

Someone you never heard of laid their life down in the name of freedom so that you could stand. I don't know about you but that is something that I will never forget.

Growing pains

As African-American males, we are quick to be labeled or thought of as being a part of some statistic. Even today, we are still judged by some people without just cause.

I, for one, have been placed in peoples' stereotypes, accused of wrongdoing because of the color of my skin, looked down on as a lower class citizen, and shouted at with hateful phrases for no good reason.

And yes, it hurt my feelings at times.

But my dad always told me to be strong and stand up for my beliefs, like treating everyone the way I would like to be treated. Everyday I stand tall because of the words and lessons my father taught me.

Challenges can result in action

The easy times are just that, easy. Only when there is a struggle does the true person you are bubble up to the surface. The act of persuasion can be strong, but the words used to do it are just that -- words. Any person can make promises. Or use words to inspire, only to be disappointed by the lack of action.

“A lot can be said about a person through their actions.”

If you know me, you know I'm not a person who does a lot of needless talking. I'm more action-oriented and have been since I can remember. This is just the way I am. I can try to manipulate my behavior, but in the end it is not a true representation of who I am.

A lot can be said about a person through their actions. I always measure someone's integrity by what they did and how they did it.

Where do we go from here

I'm tired of turning on ESPN and seeing someone debate the latest racial slur that has been said about a minority athlete or the latest scandal surrounding a gay athlete. You'd think we would have progressed instead of being stagnant in the same old mindset.

“Individually we are all different, but collectively we are all the same”

Every man and woman has the capacity to love and do right, but the capacity to hate is just as significant and often the determined choice.

For us to move forward, we have to look into ourselves and pull out the person that helps one another, congratulate accomplishments, uplift those in need, love others like you would love yourself, volunteer for a project because you know it will help a community and always be yourself no matter what.

Individually we are all different. No two people on the planet are alike. But collectively, we are all the same. And that's the beauty of humanity. It's up to you to make a difference in our world. Don't wait for others to do it first.

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