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#tolerancemeans freedom

Updated: Apr 8

Ojo A. Webb, Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center

Freedom is infinite. It is the mother of all happiness and joy. Without freedom, nothing that has life can ever truly live and if it is living, their whole purpose in life is to attain freedom or die trying.

Ojo A. Webb, Kewanee Life Skills Re-Entry Center

Therefore, freedom is essential just like water, food and proper shelter. For example, the essence of fire is heat and the essence of water is wet so, true is it that the essence of true happiness is freedom.

Circumstances, environment, and bad choices can lead you not to value it. However, as soon as your freedom is took away from you the realization that it is priceless hits you in the face like a Mack truck. I cannot help but to think about the African American struggle: for freedom from slavery, to Jim Crow, to Civil Rights up until present time. However, the quest for freedom is not unique to one group of people. Every race ethnicity and nationality has struggled for freedom in some shape form or fashion. Therefore, freedom unites us all through a shared experience. Freedom is our identity. Is a fish really a fish if it does not have the freedom to swim? Is a bird really a bird if it does not have the freedom to fly? Are you really you if you do not have the freedom to express yourself?

Freedom is a gift from God that comes with responsibility. If you enjoy your freedoms then you should have grace enough to allow other people to enjoy theirs as long as they are not hurting anybody. Freedom is fragile. It has to be cultivated and nourished by tolerance. There should be a tolerance for people's ideas, opinions, and lifestyles. To be a part of a society, where our differences are not just tolerated but celebrated, is the ultimate goal for a truly diverse society. Look at the country that we live in and think of all the different races of people that have helped create and sustain the great nation, which is truly a melting pot that would not exist without diversity. Think about all the music that sprang forth. If not for diversity, there would be no rock and roll, no country and no hip-hop. Look at the movies, food, dance, architecture and medicine. I could go on and on. None of these achievement and advancements could have happened without diversity and freedom.

We are all brothers and sisters unique in our own right. We all have hearts that love and brains that think. We are all members of the same society and community that could not function without each other. Different races religions and cultures linked together despite our differences through respect and empathy. Understanding that freedom and diversity goes hand and hand, people are not perfect, life is not always fair but our ideals, and values help us to strive to be better and to do better than the generation before us and to me that is the definition of progress.

Looking at everything that is going on in the world right now makes me feel blessed to live in the country that I do. Thinking about that day in Washington D.C. when Dr. King gave his, "I have dream" speech I cannot help but to recognize that it was more than a speech and a dream. It was a prayer. A prayer for freedom for hope that the "Powers That Be" could see that diversity and freedom should not be something to fight against but something to fight for. The fact that that speech resonates today as much as it did in 1963 means that we still have some work to do. However, by looking at the tremendous progress that this country has made, I know that we will make it to the promise land.



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