We have come a Long Way

President Barack Obama has won a second term in office and this is a great testament to have far we have come as a people when it comes to acceptance and tolerance. It is very refreshing to note that this is the platform and the state of the world that we will be leaving for our children. I still believe that there are some areas where a lot more needs to be done, but all things considered it is a remarkable improvement.

Taken from Google

Taken from Google

Imagine we were brought to this country as slaves. In some parts of the world we elevated from slavery to work as indentured servants. Whatever the terminology, we were always considered to be the “underdogs” and should always be subservient.

There was a time when we could not eat in the same restaurant like everyone else. Had it not been for the likes of Rosa Parks, we may have still been delegated to the back of the bus. Those days are long gone and today we walk among each other, we socialize and laugh and cry at the same triumphs and tragedies in our lives.

What a long journey! But one we should all be proud of. We are now able to respect each other and recognize our similarities and our differences and yet be able to cohabit peacefully. We can be intellectuals together and be proud of each other’s accomplishments.

The fact that the people have voted not once, but twice; for President Barack Obama to head our governing body; speaks volumes to where we were and where we are now. Our people have set aside bigotry and pettiness and are making strides toward building a world where we socialize, be tolerant of our differences and recognize our strengths and weaknesses as a people, not because of color, religion, race, or creed, but based on our abilities to be open and accepting of each other.

All of this would not have been possible if we did not allow ourselves to dream big and to dream of an eventual world peace. In his speech Martin Luther King says:

 “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”

Taken from Google

Taken from Google

I am so thankful that President Barack Obama was able to dream and dream BIG. If he had told someone when he was growing up that he had a dream to be the President of the United States of America, I am sure they would have laughed at him. BUT he did not give up on his dreams and so should we all. Hold dear to our dreams but work toward fulfilling them. Because: to dream without action is like a boat without a paddle – it will get us nowhere!

I am also glad that I did not give up on my dreams: Of becoming an American citizen and an author. It is a very gratifying feeling when we can accomplish our dreams. I am thrilled that my book “The Green Grass” was completed and published. So I encourage each one to “dare to dream” and follow your dreams, no matter how big or how small.

There are many parts of the world and even still amongst us where narrow minded individuals still hold on to these ignorant ways of thinking. Let us try to educate them and help them to see that we are all children of one universe, our mother earth and our faith should not be from any particular religion but based on “humanity”. To tie this in, please accept a humble quote from the “Desiderata – “You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

If we all think like this, and accept the fact that each of us are equal in the eyes of humanity and yet different in our own unique ways, then the world would be less violent and way more peaceful. A world: full of hope and appreciation for each and every one of her inhabitants.

Education and Empowerment

A famous quote by Mahatma Ghandi on Education:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever!”

When we educate our women and our youths we are ensuring a better and brighter future and a nation that will succeed through thick and thin.

In the developed countries of the world, many of us take the opportunity to get an education for granted and do not make use of the facilities that are available to us. In some countries, the lives of women are threatened if they try to get an education.

Take for example the fourteen year old girl from Pakistan who was shot in the head and left for dead because she dared to speak out and ask for her right to an education. Today she is in one of Britain’s most prestigious hospitals fighting for survival. Why? Just because she wanted an education!

Meanwhile many of our youths cut classes and do not enroll in College when it is so easily accessible.

The phrase that it takes a community to raise is child, is also applicable to educating a child. The five hours that a child spends in school daily should not be the beginning and ending of his or her educational pursuits. The learning should start from home. Please do not get mad at me, when I say this, because many will claim that they are uneducated and cannot read and write especially many immigrants.

Let me relate a little true story. My mother was illiterate. She could see her name in Huge Neon signs and would not know it. But she had a reverence for Education and instilled a love of learning in all eight of her children. If she was having a hard time getting us to brush our teeth, she would say something like:

“Would you like your breath to smell bad when you speak with your teacher?”

As soon as we got home she would ensure that we had a little snack and insisted that we complete our homework.

There was one incident when I was sick with the mumps and had a really high fever. My mother woke me up at 4:00 a.m. sponged me down with warm water and had me dress in my school uniform to take me to the LocalHealthCenter for treatment. Why so early you might ask? So that she could get ahead on line. The place opened until 7:00 a.m. but they used to put out number tags the night before.

We walked along the dark road as the world was still sleeping and I was a little scared as the dogs barked at us waking them from their slumber. When we got there, do you think we got the number one spot? No, there were already three people ahead of us. As soon as the Medec had treated me, my mother made sure I drank something (I could not eat or drink a lot because of my throat) and then she walked with me to get transportation to go to school. She never wanted us to miss school. So, even though she did not have an education she made a lot of sacrifices so that we could get one.

As parents whether single or not, we should try to inculcate a love of learning in our children. Working long hours and coming home to take care of a family is not an easy task, but we should always make our children’s education a priority. In my book “The Green Grass” I talk about “fighting” for the rights of our children. Please, do not get me wrong, I do not mean to “fight” in the literal sense. Do not go into schools and abuse the teachers because they are trying to discipline our children. Instead work with the school and the teachers and help to channel our children’s aptitudes so that they can be challenged to perform to their highest potential.

“You educate a man, you educate a man, you educate a woman you educate a Nation” by Brigham Young

Our children are the future of our nations. Educate them and we will have done our duty. Our women are the mothers of our children and if they are educated they will be able to make better choices and help our children to strive for success. It is a never ending cycle and one which can only lead to a more peaceful, harmonious environment where we can all benefit. Ties in perfectly with the quotes by Brigham Young and Nelson Mandela. 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world!” by Nelson Mandela.