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Monday, April 22, 2024

Schools have been desegregated and women have the right to vote; yet discrimination still exists. Even though the First Amendment give us the freedom to speak and practice beliefs freely, many of us have still faced some sort of discrimination in school growing up, whether based on gender, race, appearance or religion.

I was bullied in middle school for believing in abstinence; the girls in my school would make fun of my hair because it was long; someone even threw an open carton of chocolate milk at my hair. I was upset and wanted to fit in so those kids would leave me alone. I was fortunate enough to have someone to talk to, but there are many children who don’t have someone to talk to and make bad choices as a result.

Discrimination becomes bullying, and bullying can lead to suicide. “For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death,” according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

We’ve given in to peer pressure, and we’ve believed and conformed to the stereotypes. It’s time to take a stance. Stand up for someone who is being bullied; don’t tolerate disrespect, speak up. Choose your words wisely; you have the power to build up and destroy. Give a smile to all those around you; you never know who might need it. One act of kindness can go a long way.

Discrimination is hurtful. We need to be more accepting of others rather than just pushing them aside. We are all humans, and we make mistakes. But that’s okay. The important thing is to keep moving forward, and to create a place of acceptance and understanding. Dr. Seuss once said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” So go on and be unique; by just being you, you make the world a better place

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