United Way of the Midlands hosted an essay contest in honor of Martin Luther King Day. In 500 words or less, students described their vision for our community. Essays were submitted by students in elementary, middle and high schools from across the community. First, Second and Third place winners were recognized at the news conference; authors of the first place essays in each grade category received a $75 award, $50 for second place and $25 for third.
Girls Inc. member Denai Fraction, a senior at Central High School, wrote the first place essay for high school students.
Here is her essay:
It’s hard to imagine how my life would be if it wasn’t for the wonderful works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Would I still be waking up, getting ready for school, and stepping onto a crowded bus with angry faces staring at me reminding me of my unwanted presence? Would I spot the perfect seat near the front and next to a window that would send a smooth cool breeze across my face, relieving me from the stuffy air, only to remember my skin color and push forward towards the even more crowed back of the bus? Would I then arrive at school, parched from the ride, only to find the longest line at the “colored” drinking fountain and impatiently glance over at the “white” fountain, it’s perfectly polished porcelain shining bright tempting me to sneak a sip?
I am so thankful for Dr. King’s lifelong dedication to helping change the world through his fight to establish justice for everyone through equality in all aspects of life. Dr. King ultimately gave his life to help people like me, who he did not even know, live a life full of opportunities and acceptance where the color of their skin did not matter.
Although we are all legally to be treated fairly, that is not always the case in my community. People are stereotyped and treated differently because of their race. The streets of Omaha are filled with anger and violence and stained with the blood of those who have been the unfortunate products of the raging violence my community seems to not be able to shed. Dr. King stressed the importance of non violence and stayed true to his morals, never succumbing to physically harming others to get what he wanted or prove a point which is something I wish could happen in my community. I think of what he is saying from heaven looking down and seeing things how they are. He would be proud of some things, but sad about how some things haven’t changed, and in some situations have gotten worse.
My dream is to see everyone getting along. I want the gang rivalries to end, the senseless shootings to stop, and for Omaha to be known for the positive things instead of our high crime rate. I dream that one day everyone will have a home, food to eat, and to feel safe at night. I dream that one day we will have one hundred percent graduation rate that go on to college to do bigger and better things. I dream that Omaha will one day not be so divided and each area, North, East, South, and West could come together as one to create “Omaha the Great”. My dream is that we would appreciate the works of Dr. Martin Luther King as well as everyone who helped make this life we live possible by showing respect and gratefulness by living a life they would be proud of.