Law Day 2013 Art & Essay Contest Winning Entries
Discrimination and injustice have been occurring in our society for centuries. It has caused millions of innocent people hurt feelings, embarrassment, a lower standard of living and even major violence. Therefore, all types of injustice are major conflicts in our society today; they need to be addressed and fixed immediately. There are several major changes that have to happen to correct this issue. That won't be possible without complete dedication from everyone around the country. Man brought this issue into the world so we are the only ones who have the power to eliminate it.
The first major change we have to ensure happens to eliminate injustice and discrimination is to demolish all forms of judgment in every aspect of our lives. Simple things like looks and beliefs have absolutely no effect on one's talents or abilities. Many people don't realize that and base who someone is off of superficial aspects. For example, my father along with some of his colleagues, were forced to resign from their positions a few years ago. This was because their boss wanted to employ the younger generation simply because he did not want "old" people representing him. My father and his colleagues were by far more talented and experienced than the younger employees yet because of the discriminating director, they lost their jobs for no reason. If no judgment was involved, my father would still be happily employed at that job. Therefore, in order to achieve equality we must look at people for who they are not depthless factors.
One way to successfully eliminate judgment throughout the country is to expose people to various cultures and views starting at an early age. If children are used to diversity from the moment they enter school then that idea won't seem abdominal to them. "Different" kids won't stand out but rather be accepted because the "normal" kids will be used to diversity and consider everyone as equal. Then, as those kids grow up discrimination and injustice will not even cross their minds because equality will be the norm. On a personal level, from just transferring from a very small high school to a very large and diverse high school, I have noticed this idea in action. The kids from a small town in upstate New York were not used to a variety of cultures and beliefs and therefore were very close minded about anyone who was not exactly like them. That was just what they had grown up with. However, when I moved to a much larger city in Pennsylvania, there were kids of all types attending my new high school. The students were much more accepting of people with different looks or beliefs because that is what they were used to since birth. Therefore, exposure is the best way to the elimination of discrimination and injustice.
If we demolish judgment and give everyone an early exposure to diversity the only other thing we can do to achieve equality is to get individuals to set an example. If one person takes a stand and expresses their concern for prejudice then it will start a chain reaction and other people will become aware and concerned for the issue. If enough people become brave enough to do this then it will make such a drastic impact that discrimination and injustice will be non-existent. All it takes is once voice and one example to get the whole country involved. We need to encourage more individual involvement in the topic to successfully solve the issue, Not to mention, if powerful people like celebrities and even the President take stand more individuals will follow their lead and that can cause a larger and more successful chain reaction.
To terminate all forms of discrimination and injustice our country needs to transform itself in several ways. We are more than capable of doing so if there are enough committed people willing to get involved. If they took a stand and convinced people to be aware of what is going on and stop judging everyone, you would notice a major change in the country. Also, if we take the time and effort to get the younger generation to acknowledge all the diversity in the world it would eliminate a lot of the conflict as well. America needs to follow this crucial advice and full equality can be achieved. It just all depends on how bad we want it; anything is possible.
Williamsport High School.
It is very important for the government to treat everyone equally. It's important for them to treat people equally because it will give everyone opportunities to do what they want.
Pretend that you're a black person or someone from another country and the year and time is somewhere back when people are not treated equally. You’re poor and wanted to find a good college. But no school wants you. How do you feel? A few years later later you wanted a job so you can support your family. But no one wants you because of your skin and background! How do you feel? Angry? Sad? Unfair? I'd say all of the above!
Now pretend that you're a white person, and the year and time is back when people are not treated equally. You are rich and famous. How do you feel? You have a great job, education, and everything you wanted. You think being a white person is good? Well, no! Back then, girls are not even allowed to go to school. No even white girls. It's so unfair.
Just because you're a girl / woman / black people / a person from another country doesn't mean that you can't be treated equally! I believe that everyone is equal from the moment their born. No matter what your gender, color, age, or background is, everyone can do something good, or world-changing if they have the chance. That is what I believe, and you should too!
As you can see, it's important for the government to treat everyone equally.
McCall Middle School
"What does it mean to be equal under the laws of the United States?" at first seems to be a question easily answered: everyone is treated exactly the same. But as I take a closer look at this seemingly simple question, I realize that the automatic answer is incorrect.
"Equal" means many different things to many different people. To me, equal means everyone is entitled to what belongs to them, and that everyone can do as they please, as long as it is within boundaries of the law. At first I believed my definition would be different from the United States "technical" definition. According to the dictionary, equal means to be the same as in number or amount. Upon further research, I found that, technically, to be equal under the law means every citizen is treated and judged fairly, regardless of who they are. This was actually quite similar to my definition, so I stuck with that as my definition throughout the rest of my research.
And, whilst I was researching, I found that the United States is not exactly equal according to the definition most commonly used for equal. Not every citizen is treated or judged fairly with no regard to who they are. This is because of bias. No matter who you are, or where you came from, you are biased. That is not exactly bad, though; to be biased shows you are human. But it also causes the world to be unequal. For example, say an African American man was charged with murder. He might have a really good lawyer, and some extremely impressive evidence, but it's all for naught if the judge is biased against him because he is black. Bias can come up in other circumstances, such as gay rights. You are either okay with it, or against it, because you are biased. You might be against it because you grew up in. a conservative family. On the opposite side, you might be for it because you might have a friend who is gay, or you grew up in a more liberal family. But every opinion you have, even if you do not even have an opinion, stems from bias. That is why, not just the United States, but the entire world will never be equal: because we are human, and are biased.
As much as I would like to think one day we will all be equal within the laws of the United States by my definition, the cynicism in me tells me this is impossible. No matter what, someone will always be given the short end of the stick; in the past it has been women's rights and segregation, in the present it is marriage equality, and who knows what it will be in the future. Someone will always be treated unfairly. But then again, fair isn't always equal, is it?
Curtin Middle School
Under the laws of the United States, the idea that all people of any race, religion, and gender are equal is part of what makes the United States of America such an incredible country. Equality in all people is such a significantly important part of our country, because it ensures that all people have the same rights no matter what their religion, gender, or race may be. In the United States laws declare that women, and all citizens of the United States of all races, including African-American, and Chinese-American, and people of any religion are permitted to vote, and participate in many other debates or activities. In some countries, women and people of different races and religions are excluded from debates and voting in both politics and everyday matters. In the United States, this behavior is unacceptable. Equality is a major portion of what makes us a free and proud country, and it is vital to protect and enforce it. Our equality laws eliminate all slavery, and public racial and religious discrimination, where in other countries, slavery and discrimination are still legal and in full affect. I believe that these equality laws cause people to feel protected and secure while living in the United States. Our country needs to have these equality laws, because there are still unfortunately still some people in the United States who feel strongly that a person's gender, race, or religion determines whom they are. Equality laws prevent violence, and raciest acts, and help people to see that all people are equal, no matter what their background story may be. So in conclusion, equality laws in the United States of America, including the Emancipation Proclamation, the Equal Rights Amendment, the Civil Rights Act and the American Equality Bill, declare all people equal, and make all people in the United States feel safe, welcomed, and included in that regard. All in all, equality laws also help make the United States of America an amazing country.
McCall Middle School
What is discrimination, and how is it being handled in the United States today? Is everyone really treated as an equal? Does the code of conduct that Abraham Lincoln came up with 150 years ago still stand today? The Emancipation Proclamation was supposed to abolish slavery and cause everyone to be seen as an equal in society, no matter his or her gender, race, or ethnic background. Today, we see discrimination in all shapes and sizes. There is discrimination between same sex marriages, students with disabilities, and even prejudice between races continues to exist. All throughout the United States, there unfortunately remains to be a lot of work to do in order for these discriminations to diminish.
In 2012, the Supreme Court was faced with the challenges of same sex marriages. This debate had state and federal governments divided for extended periods of time. Each person should be entitled to his or her own opinion as stated in the first amendment of the Constitution. When you place people around a certain idea for a long period of time, they start to become accustomed to the notion. For many years, no one thought different for marriages to be of one male and one female. However, now that times are changing, people are starting to get skeptical. To diminish these biases, one must be placed in a situation where he or she can get used to the idea that change happens. It is a part of life! Some people won't like it; maybe even most people will detest the idea. However, there is a difference between understanding, agreeing with, and tolerating something, Not everyone agrees that gay marriages are best, and to some people, it goes against all of their beliefs. However, as Americans, we should accept the fact that they are all entitled to what they believe in just as much as we believe in something. It is not a matter of agreeing and committing to someone else's belief, we just need to be accepting of others and know that they can believe what they want to believe. The solution in this scenario is simple. We just need to be familiar with all possibilities of change and learn that tolerance and acceptance will be advantageous to society.
Today, students with disabilities, and even adults, are immersed into society just like everyone else. This, however, has been a huge controversy as of lately. Between all of the shootings and riots that have occurred across the country, people everywhere are questioning if it is right to mix these people in with the rest of us. They are people as much as anyone else. However, at the same time, should we risk the lives of many men, women, and even children at the cost of equality? Some of these questions are easier to answer than others. Fifty, sixty, even seventy years ago, these people would have been segregated. They would have been placed into hospitals and buildings of people similar to them. Even today at schools, despite the fact that we are all in the same building, these students come to school with aides, they have separate classrooms, they get special treatment, and that shows discrimination at the same time as trying to promote impartiality. There are certain restraints on students like this and even in some cases, it affects the system of education. Other students can take advantage of these kids, and it isn't right. There is no right to education; however, it helps us as Americans to receive this luxury. Today in society, we should accept tolerance of the individuals. It is no one's fault that they are unique from other people. We, however, need to be reminded of the sale principles that this country was founded on, and see if mixing these people with everyone is equal, but at the same time, safe for the greater public.
Finally, racial discrimination, as much as we would like to admit is gone, still exists everywhere today. Discrimination is based off of hatred and the animal instinct to feel superior over someone or something. While some groups already feel inferior to others, those who feel like they need to have power over someone else, take advantage of that right. The Emancipation Proclamation was supposed to abolish slavery and the act of owning another person. "All men are created equal". These words need to stand true today no matter what color skin each person has. No one is the same and we need to understand that tolerance is the only way that we can even begin to create a mindset of equality among everyone. We are set on the guidelines of freedom and to say what we want, and when we were given the freedom from the Constitution, some people feel the need to take advantage of this luxury. We just need to accept people once and for all that we are not all the same.
In conclusion, we all have different opinions, views, skin colors, abilities, etc. These traits are what make each of us unique. No matter what these characteristics might be, tolerance and familiarity can help allow us to understand equality better. Discrimination cannot go away over night, and there have been many attempts to abolish it. However, as people become less ignorant and more accepting, then what Abraham Lincoln set out to do 150 years ago won't seem like it was all for nothing.
Loyalsock High School
Hughesville High School
Lyter Elementary School
Jackson Elementary School
McCall Middle School
Williamsport High School