This I Believe

Hilary - Eagle Mountain, Utah
Entered on December 7, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I have lived in Utah for most of my life. When some of my friends went to New York City for the first time, there were many people and scenes I had never seen before. I was afraid of something terrible happening to me or my three female 18 year old companions. I have never particularly considered myself a racist person, but I was afraid a few times at the beginning. Really silly things, such as bumping into a person was was African American, or being harangued by an Asian salesperson to buy a knockoff bag. I knew it was silly at the time, but I had created a barrier for myself that I was not going to let anything in, just in case something bad happened to any of us. I remember walking down the street at 4:00 AM, after leaving a comedy club. We were alone on a street, except for a man with long hair, in a dark coat, who was walking a few paces behind us. After several minutes, my best friend turned around and said, “hello, how are you?” He immediately launched into friendly conversation with us, including several tips on how to avoid “scary people on scary streets.” I wonder still if he supposed we had been suspecting him as one of those scary people, until we spoke. The more people I met and spoke with in New York, the more I grew to love humanity, or my small taste of it. I do not have to live in fear of my fellow man. I do not have to be afraid of what I do not know. I believe that humankind has the ability and the desire to heal itself of racism and social divide. I now love the experiences I can have to enjoy a new culture or speak to a stranger on the street. I am not saying bad things don’t happen. I am not saying to trust everyone. But I am saying that I know everyone wants to love eachother and experience brotherhood as much as I do. I believe that I can help turn my world into a place where I do not have to live in fear.