This I Believe

Terry - Toledo, Ohio
Entered on July 28, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

THIS I BELIEVE: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights

I grew up thinking that I am not a prejudiced person. In adulthood I found myself challenged on this question by several situations.

My oldest daughter went to first volunteer, and then work, with people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Some had behavioral problems also. This was fine except that she introduced me to them. She brought them home and/or took me to them. I had to face them and deal with it. I did and I discovered that they are beautiful, warm, friendly people.

I grew up in an all white neighborhood and went to an all white school. When I married and had a family, we lived around all whites. Then my middle daughter came home one day and said she wanted to go on a date with a black fellow. I was shocked and dismayed. But I worked through it and said OK. She went out once with him and that was it.

Then my youngest daughter had a baby. The baby’s father is black. And it’s OK. I love my daughter and I love my grandson.

I have learned a lot from my daughters. There have been other incidents in my life that have challenged my idea that I am not a prejudiced person. It seems each time I say that I am not prejudiced, another challenge comes along. So now I only say that I am working at not being prejudiced.

This is important to me because I believe what it says in our Declaration of Independence, written and adopted in 1776 and I believe what it says in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written and adopted by the United Nations in 1948. Both of these documents are statements of truths.

I believe these truths are self-evident, that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, that they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood; that among these rights are the right to life, liberty and the security of person and that these are inalienable rights that are endowed by their Creator.

I believe the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

I believe these truths are the most important life principles for me as an individual, for my country and for the world.