Today, as a nation, we honor one of the greatest leaders who has ever lived. Martin Luther King, Jr. is known for his unique message in dealing with the hate that surrounded him. Yet, he overcame it and taught a nation to look past the color of one’s skin and live together. We are still not perfect at looking past what is on the outside, but we are making strides in that direction. In fact, now we hate each other due to religious and political beliefs much more than appearances. It would be great to have another leader rise to teach tolerance and love as was exemplified by Dr. King.

Today also marks what would have been my mother’s 74th birthday. She was a great leader in my life who taught me to look past not just the color of one’s skin, but past the way others looked in general. When I told her I was being teased because I didn’t have name brand stuff, she taught me to improvise and make it my own. She helped me to see who I was on the inside and to look past my own exterior.

Now, I think our generation can take it even further. Most of us do not interact with racists or belittle others for what brands they wear. Those are things of the past. However, we are now dividing ourselves over ideals and belief systems. We need to look inside at who we are like my mother taught and look at the values of others as Dr. King taught us. Only once we truly understand our own perspectives through the eyes of another can we grow together. We need leaders who are willing to see themselves through a different lens if we are going to move forward as a nation.

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