Something that I’ve always taken for granted growing up is that all people are created equal. Growing up in Canada, that was just something that I assumed. I had close friends of many different races and never thought twice about it. We played sports, learned how to write code, talked about our relationship troubles, applied to colleges, and dreamed about our futures together, regardless of race, religion, or culture. I used to just accept that as a reality, and assumed it was like that everywhere in the world.
Boy was I wrong.
While I’d encounter the occasional stranger who had a disdain for Chinese people and vocalized it to me, my group of multi-racial friends always dismissed those comments as coming from ignorant folks, and we just went on our merry way. However, many don’t have that luxury, and many have much worse persecution than just being called a derogatory racial name.
In my youth, I believed that everyone was created equal, and should be treated as equals. As I grew older, I learned that there’s a difference between equality and equity.
Equality is treating everyone equally. Equity is treating everyone how they need to be treated in order for them to feel equal.
I don’t know what your future will hold, or what the racial, socio-economic, gender, status, or belief structure will look like when you two grow up. I do know that you two will grow up as two of the most fortunate boys in the world, simply by being raised in America, in one of the largest and most prosperous cities of our time, and with a family that loves you, is concerned about teaching you to treat others with respect and dignity, and seeks to give you every opportunity to experience a rich and full life.
Do not squander that blessing.
My sons, I urge you to be a part of the solution. Don’t assume that everyone is being treated equitably and thereby ignore the issues of our time. Speak up for those without a voice. Love those who the world does not deem lovely. Advocate for those who cannot represent themselves. Be generous with your time, with your resources, with your hearts, and with your care. And above all, listen. Listen to those who are in pain, to those who are persecuted, to those who have come to their wits end. And then have grace and mercy for them, and love them.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a bold dream in 1963. That dream was for this country and this world to believe and act as though all people were created equal. It was a dream that longed for his children to be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. It is a dream that I have for the two of you, and is a dream that has not yet been realized.
We can change our world, but it takes all of us coming together to make that dream a reality.