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My fellow Americans and those that chose to call themselves Americans,

I was born on July 9, 1964 on Lakeland Farms in rural Perry Count and the evidence of the racial prejudices and the demeaning injustices we faced as African Americans filled the early years of my life. For the first sixteen years of my life, I had to recognize the fact I truly lived in a segregated society. I grew up in a mostly African American community where my grandfather worked on a dairy farm. I witness him refer to various Caucasians as mister or madam, even though he would be much older than they. I attended a segregated school and worshipped at a segregated church where the usual topic of discussion was how the American society treated us as a people. In spite of the words I learned to repeat as I faced the American flag, in reality, I understood I lived in a country that was actually many different nations under God. I realized this country was divided and offered liberty and justice only to those that belonged to the desired race and/or had enough money to purchase it.

As I left the comforts and seclusion of my small rural beginnings in 1981 to venture into the vast world, my heart filled with the hope of discovering the America I was taught about in school. I yearned to find the America shaped by the idea that all men were created equal. I yearned to find the America built upon the foundation of liberty and justice for all. I left Alabama, moved to Miami with my mother, and enrolled in American Senior High School. Even though I no longer faced the unmistakable racism of rural Perry County, I soon discovered in America, the preferred way of life was indeed segregation. Moreover, the America I was taught about in school did not exist.

During the decades since leaving rural Perry County, I have traveled this great country. The one thing I see no matter where I go is we are still a country that has not fully erased the lines that divide us. When I wake up in the morning, I find myself waking up in an America still encouraging us to place separating barriers on ourselves. I wake up to an America that is actually many nations, under many gods. I wake up to an America dividing itself into many segregated communities of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Japanese Americans, Irish Americans, Native Americans, and White Americans. I wake up to an America offering liberty and justice to all only if they are of the desired race and/or have enough money to purchase it.

In the five decades since the start of the American Civil Rights Movement and my birth, the American society has yet to come to grips with the words that the founding fathers of this country penned in the sacred pages of our constitution. These words mention something about us holding certain truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and are endowed by God with certain right, which includes life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Even though these very words have been repeated and included in various sermons, commentaries, and articles, America remains at a complete loss to the real meaning of these words. Over the years, America constantly tried to reshape itself into the nation presented in the preamble. Yet for some reason, we have fallen short. True, we have gotten rid of slavery and other injustices placed upon various minorities. Yet, we picked up other injustices and now fight to make them a part of our permanent society.

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