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Indiana Civil Rights Commission's Art, Writing, & Media Contest - Winner

A House United

Samarth Sheth
Castle High School - Newburgh, IN

As I look upon the world today, with its triumphs and struggles, I ask myself: Where are we now and where can we be? We sometimes focus so much on the end goal of peace and tranquility that we forget that it is that very quality of respect and calmness that forms the stepping stones for greatness in the future. Are we so different? We must focus not on looking at each other as a house divided, but on praising each other as a family of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints that ultimately has the same goal of a better future. On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln stated that house divided against itself cannot stand;' essentially stating the well-known aphorism "united we stand, divided we fall." Does history not show the verity in such a proclamation? Consider Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, and, of course, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. These individuals and countless others have definitively displayed to the world the power of nonviolence, the power of compassion, the power of understanding, the power of peace.

We, as a house united, must find within ourselves the willingness to compromise rather than resort to creating a schism with antagonizing sides with the mindset of defeating each other rather than addressing the problem that all sides want to remedy. We must not forget what the real objective is. When we focus on a relationship marred by an unwillingness to find common ground, we use that much less energy in fixing the problem. We all want a better idea, a better way, a better world... but what is really accomplished if one side finally reaches what they believe is the solution, only to look back and see a trail of tears dotted with hostility and covered by the stormy clouds of a house divided? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood this viewpoint and made certain to remind us to not forget the values and principles that bring us much happiness and success as we venture forth for something more.

It is up to my generation to spread King's description of peace as a vehicle for greatness to the minds of all people. We must relay the facts of history that depict how a peaceful disagreement provides a much better outcome than the scratching of a line on the floor to divide the house. If we shut each other out, we can never know how much better the solution to the problem could have been if we had opened ourselves for constructive criticism from differing, yet respectful, viewpoints. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. states that "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal!" I feel compelled to make the addendum that peace is not merely a nicety that we can consider, but a necessity that we must strive for in order to bring the world together as a house united. Indiana Black Expo awarded Samarth with a $500 scholarship.

Posted Date:01/17/2017


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Indiana Black Expo, Inc. (IBE) has been a pillar of the African-American community for decades as a year-round, multifaceted community service organization with 12 chapters around the state of Indiana. IBE is known for its two major fund-raisers, Summer Celebration and Circle City Classic. This 501(c)(3) nonprofit is governed by a board of directors comprised of individuals and community leaders from around the state of Indiana and employs a full time staff.

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