My biggest observation is that this debate is a reflection of class, respect, and experience. We all have different experiences and there seems to be a lack of understanding of those with different experiences and backgrounds. However, as citizens of America, we have to do better. We have to do better opening our minds to those around us. We have to take the time to ask questions and get to know the experience of others. And we have to respect each others experiences. When we do that, we can learn from one another. This is the only way we are going to get there.
This is not a race thing. It’s bigger. “It’s a human thing,” as I once heard someone say.
Maybe I have the ability to have an open mind because I know what its like to struggle. To hear shootings in the wee hours of the night. To have a home I was embarrassed to bring friends to. To have family members and peers injured and killed due to violence. To cry because I didn’t understand why my brother was able to be raised by his dad and I didn’t know where my dad was. To know that my mom didn’t eat because she made sure her family ate first.
But then I know what it’s like to be encouraged. What it’s like to taste something different. To, due to the many people around me, be exposed to so much more.
I know what it’s like to have a village surrounding me and encouraging me. Those who weren’t always condescending. Those who provided direction even when it didn’t feel good or when it went against the grain. But, even then, those who encouraged and allowed me to be myself and find myself and be strong in who I was.
Because of this village, I am now able to sow back into the lives of others. I am a statistic – one who if the numbers were to tell, would not be a college graduate. Instead, I would for sure be an alcoholic repeating the cycle of lower class living. But thanks to the village, given by the grace of God, I had a different outcome.
Statistics are only numbers. They have the ability to change. We, as a society, can be that change.
Regardless of the outcome of the debate, I’m calling for us to be that village. Those who take a children, teens and even our peers r and help them achieve ultimate excellence. Those who are willing to look beyond where they are, and instead, help them get to where they could be. Those who are willing to tell someone, “you are someone,” and that their quirkyness, high sense of fashion, or nerdiness is absolutely okay because there is a place for everyone.