MLK Essay Contest Winner, middle school: Thierryanne Thomas

Will you join me in fighting racism?

Harllee Middle School,Seventh GradeJanuary 19, 2014 

"If you can't fly, then run; if you can't run, then walk

if you can't walk, then crawl

But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward"

-- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a brave man. He risked everything to unite the white and the African Americans. Today, I honestly don't think the youth understand the importance of the civil rights movement.

As a middle school student, I will experience many things and also I will hear many things. It's like I can't go down the hallways without hearing something racist coming out of someone's mouth. It's either a white person saying something about being black or a black person messing with a white person about how red their neck is or how they can't dance.

As a Haitian, I hear many negative comments about being a Haitian because I am not African American or white or Hispanic. One day a girl walked up to me and said, "Hmmm, you smell like Haitian," then walked away. How can Haitian become a type of smell?

I believe in integration because I love to learn about other races and I like whenever all nations of every skin color can unite without having any conflict. But racism is still evident in murder cases like Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. It shows how youth don't really care what Dr. King and Rosa Parks did for us.

The young people of today are taking what the civil rights leaders did for granted. Don't they know that it was also teens who left their schools to march for our freedoms? Even children were arrested for trying to stop segregation. They had painful water hoses turned on them, dogs attacked them, and they were hit with rocks. Four little girls even died from the bombing of their church in Montgomery. These children did this for my generation, for my freedom.

I don't understand: If people had the courage to put a stop to segregation, then why are young people trying to bring it back? Parents even teach their children to be racist and to dislike those who are different.

I am personally bullied because of my skin color or because I am Haitian. When I stand up to a bully, they always remark about the gap in my teeth or my skin color. I always get bullied because I am dark skinned, but I don't let it hurt me. Deep inside, I know who I am!

Dr. King said, "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. I have a dream today."

Fifty years later and Dr. King's dream is still not reality. We are still being judged by the color of our skin, not the content of our heart.

We do not have Dr. Martin Luther King to protest for us now. We have to do it on our own. "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends," spoke Dr. King.

I will do everything I can to stop my generation from this racist nonsense. I will lead our youth in the right path of the civil rights movement. Will you join me?

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