“I am a person of color and like many other students on this campus, we have a greater struggle to be accepted by all; not only on this campus, but throughout the world at large. Racism is still a very present act consisting of both prejudice and discrimination. And in this nation, acts of hate for different races have been extremely difficult to accept. And some wonder why we protest and some wonder why we feel a need to fight and I’m here to tell you why. When there is a hate crime done to one, it’s done to all - because all of us “colored folks” are all subject to that terrible wrong. And we’d have it a lot worse if it wasn’t for this one man who took the ambitious, vigorous and powerful step toward eliminating this hate zealously – this unfortunate hate many had for those who simply were born looking different than the majority.
This man is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and he called out to us all to better this world by alleviating hate amongst different ethnicities. Dr. King made history with his remarkable ability to lead because he knew that being ‘free’ was not free enough. He not only dedicated his time, but his whole being into his vision of peace, acceptance, and understanding among all races - traveling to hundreds of places, he fought for justice and integrity – patiently educating the world on gaining equality through nonviolent activism, socialism, and harmony. Training people to follow in his footsteps, he passionately led thousands to a better tomorrow and brought us to a more accepting today.
And yes, we have met his beginnings - we have come a long way from the pains of the Civil Rights Movement of the ’50s and ’60s and every disgrace for people of color that has come before it extremely. But this melting pot of pigments has yet to meet his dream completely. And this week, we honor his spirit; we celebrate his leadership and constantly put in every effort to follow it - this week, I ask that you do something peaceful, something helpful and something beneficial for your neighbor; care for your friends, your peers, and even those who are strangers. This week is about peace and acceptance for and of all - but please my fellow students, don’t let this week be the only week where we decide to acknowledge King’s call.
La’Shante Cox is a junior from Massachusetts studying Dance, Psychology, Peace & Social Justice, and Creative Writing at Ursinus. She is the President of Sankofa Umoja Nia, Secretary of Seismic Step, and works an array of jobs in and out of Ursinus College.