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Student essays

Rainier Beach School

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a person who means a lot of things to people. I think he represents everyone's struggle in life.

What he means to me is my own struggle in life. He makes me think that no matter if I am an Asian or not, I can conquer anything and anybody. No matter what color I am, I'm still a person with feelings and personality. Dr. Martin Luther King . . . fought for what he believed was justice. Even now racism still exists, that is why he is known as the leader of blacks' rights. His speech, "I have a dream . . . " is so famous because everyone has a dream no matter what color he is. I didn't understand why someone would kill such a noble man. I guess it is because someone didn't like what he died for - an important cause, which is the truth that each person has in himself.

Everyone is prejudiced in one way or another, either it is rich people that hate the poor ones, people prejudiced against gays and lesbians, and the list goes on and on.

Dr. Martin Luther King is just one of the people that actually brought up racism and justice issues, but most people are not born prejudiced. People are not born with the thinking, "I hate blacks" or "I hate Asians" or any other races. They are led to this thinking by society, people around them and how people live today.

Dr. Martin Luther King's struggles make me think of my own kid. I would not put racism in my kid's mind. I will teach her to not look at colors in people, but to look at the minds of people. If one day she marries someone of another race, it would be fine with me because I believe everyone should be treated equally.

Jackson High School

What does Martin Luther King, Jr. mean to me? Well, when I was growing up and every year when Martin Luther King Jr. Day came up, it always got me thinking. I wondered what it would have been like growing up in a time when entire groups different from that of the majority "white" people were persecuted and segregated, to be thought of as the lesser human.

It often caught my attention for that day. I say "day" simply because I don't think about it much. I come from a time when these beliefs of inhumanity have been abolished and people are free to walk down the streets without the fear of racial bigotry, but to walk down the streets knowing full well that they are respected as equals and as citizens of our nation.

Now, I know the accomplishments of the great Martin Luther King and I thank him for changing the minds of so many people, for without his untimely devotion to end racial persecution I would not have the kind of kick-back, take-it-easy kind of life.

You see, I come from a mixed assortment of ethnic groups, which back in his time would be looked upon as evil, but due to his efforts I have no problems with being who I am. And for this I thank him and want to remind him that although he is not on my mind 24-7 he will always have my gratitude and thanks for his work to let everyone know that we are all created equal.

Rainier Beach High School

The struggle Dr. Martin L. King Jr. had was not a wonderful struggle. It was a struggle through racism and segregation. When the maker of the dream died, his dream still lived on in the world. Now his dream lives on within some people. With the dream living within some people, the dream is becoming in vain.

The struggle we live with today is ourselves. We are our own enemies today. We are letting his dream die more and more each day. Just because King believed in non-violence does not mean that you are being a punk! King taught people to use violence with their mind, standing up to what you believe in, or to treat people how you want to be treated not by your fists, guns or not having respect for other people.

So if you want his dream to go on, try to live the way he struggled. If you want his dream to be in vain, keep living the way you are today - with violence!

Jackson High School

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man in his time. However, it seems that people have forgotten who he was and what he was about. Today most people don't even see racism, and if they do it is nowhere near the extremes of Martin Luther King's time.

The only racism I have witnessed would be the opposite, for example, the black entertainment channel on TV; the fact that 90 percent of sports players are of African decent. There are now laws saying that if an African-American and a Caucasian who are equally skilled apply for a job, you hire the African American. Also, television makes it seem like you'll be cooler or have more friends if you're of African decent.

People see people for who they are - black, white, gay or straight, like Martin Luther King Jr. wanted. We learn in schools who he was, and what he did, but because of today's surroundings people don't care, but Martin Luther King Jr. died for what he believed in, he died to make the country what it is. Martin Luther King Jr. was, and to me still is, a great man who did great things.

Jackson High School

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a truly amazing person. It is just now, during my junior year of high school that I am realizing exactly how large an effect he has had on our country. When my brother and sisters and I hear about all the bigotry and racism that has happened prior to us, it makes us sick. That may not have been the case were it not for King's initiation of and leadership during the civil-rights movement.

It may seem to my generation that it happened a long time ago, but my mom tells me stories of how when she was in school in the South, she encountered people that still did not agree with equal rights. I, myself, have never been in that area, however I have been warned more than once to be careful of where I go if I do choose to go there. Living here all my life I have never known what it is like to be called derogatory names or be made fun of due to my ethnicity. In fact, it has been just the opposite. People often ask me if I am Hawaiian or Native American and compliment my skin tone or something to that effect. To me racism is foreign, like a book you read and think it was "just a story," until one day you realize it wasn't.

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