Supposedly, Nelson Mandela once said, “Our world is not divided by race, color, gender, or religion. Our world is divided into wise people and fools. And fools divide themselves by race, color, gender, or religion.” The origins of the quote may be in dispute. But, the wisdom – the spirit behind the quote – represents a absolute, undeniable truism. The sowers of hatred, violence, and disunity continue to haunt, plague, and disgrace our society.
Some 672 thousand reside in Hudson County; about 40 percent, or 266 thousand, live in Jersey City alone. The people that live in our community hail from every corner of the globe, the nation, and from all walks of life; and, as such, form a very rich, diverse mosaic of cultures and backgrounds. Without doubt, the diversity within our community strengthens us, just as much as our common interests unify us. That said, we should embrace our diversity. We want a society that strives for inclusion and respect, where every person within our community is valued for his / her contributions to society, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, gender, or beliefs.
Bigotry, prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination must end! We need to underscore the urgency of addressing inequality within our society. Granted, perhaps we are unable to change the world. But, we can make an effort to change the community in which we live, and that would be a gigantic leap forward toward changing the world. The people within our community should work together to ensure that all members of our society are seen, heard, and treated as human beings. As a community, we should be strongly committed to – and united in – securing a safe and secure environment for everyone, a society free from personal, social, economic, and political barriers.
It is up to all of us to ensure the members of our community that everyone’s voices and actions matter. More importantly, it is up to all of us to set a shining, stellar example as we work toward creating a viable, vibrant community that emphasizes life, freedom, liberty, and equality for all. Otherwise, we’ll be amongst the outdated fools that divide themselves by race, color, gender, or religion.
John Di Genio