I have been thinking about this word a lot after the inauguration yesterday, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. President Obama mentioned equality frequently during his speech, and the topic was all over my local NPR station.
"We the people declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal -- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
"It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began, for our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.
"Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.
"Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity, until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.
"Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm." --President Obama
It made me think about what equality means to me. I agree with everything the president listed, but I think there is more to add. Equality exists when we stop talking about an achievement gap based on race, socio-economic status or gender in schools, when all schools can afford the resources and technology that they need, when teachers are once again respected and trusted. Education should not be ignored or pushed aside. Education can make all men equal.
What did you think of the inaugural address? Did you celebrate MLK, Jr. Day? How do you define equality?