Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the balcony in front of his room at the Lorraine Motel when he was assassinated 46 years ago today.
It was 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn. After being shot, he was immediately transported to a hospital, but at 7:05 p.m., he was pronounced dead.
He was 39 years old. He’d spent his life fighting for civil rights, spearheading the movement. The Civil Rights Act was signed in 1964. The act stated that “discrimination based on 'race, color, religion, or national origin' in public establishments (hotels, motels, trailer parks, restaurants, gas stations, bars, taverns, and places of entertainment) that has a connection to interstate commerce or is supported by the state is prohibited.”
However, as far as we have come since the 1960s, we still haven’t achieved true equality. There is more work to do.
I don’t know if that can be achieved in our lifetimes. I think there is something we can all do, even if it’s just taking a stand. Not everyone is a leader like King was. Not everyone will be willing to risk their lives for what they stand for and fight for.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything. If we all take on that belief, then nothing will change. Sometimes all a movement needs to get started is a spark. And what way is there to better spark a movement than getting people talking about it?
An article on the Globe and Mail website called “Gender equality: Canada barely makes the grade in top 20,” revealed the results of the annual study by the World Economic Forum.
It examines the divide between women and men in four categories: economic participation and opportunity, education attainment, health and survival and political empowerment.
Canada holds the No. 20 spot overall in the ranking of gender equality, up one spot from last year, but down from holding No. 18 in 2011.
Canada is No. 9 for economic participation and opportunity and No. 1 in education attainment. But Canada is No. 49 in health and survival and No. 42 in political empowerment.
Other places have it worse off than we do. But inequality ravages places all over the world. I’d love to see it eradicated someday. We can talk about all sorts of inequality — social, economic, marriage, gender — and see examples of it at every turn.
This isn’t fair. We are all people, very different with our own unique stories, but we are all human. We deserve equality.
If we stand together and raise awareness about the cause, we can take a few more steps forward on the path of an equal society free of racism, sexism and other inequalities.
We cannot forget people like King. Even though I’m not American and I, like many of us, didn’t know him personally, it doesn’t matter.
He stands as a symbol of fighting for equality and never giving up, no matter what comes our way. Symbols like that, symbols of hope, can never be erased.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.