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Student Writing Wednesday: Ruben’s “We are Not the Minority”

“To create a safer and more peaceful community, environment and world, is the ultimate goal.”

In the world of sports, specifically in boxing, Muhammad Ali is considered to be one of the best and the most inspiring athletes to ever set foot in the ring. Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. or also known as Muhammad Ali, was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, KY.  When Ali was reaching his prime moments in his boxing career, he was sent to prison because he refused to be drafted into the army to fight a war for the men and women of a country that did not like him only because of his color. As Muhammad said, “The draft is about White people sending Black people to fight Yellow people, to protect the country they stole from Red people.” As a fighter in his prime moments, he was stripped from his boxing titles, sent to prison and fined $10,000.

Now that I have your attention, what do you feel about the country you live in? The Country that promises equality and Freedom of Speech? Over the last hundred years or so, African Americans along with Latinos, have been discriminated in this “great country” we call home. Muhammad Ali was a fighter and a great one, but when the Vietnam war came around, he refused to fight for white people, for the same people that discriminated him because of his skin color. Muhammad Ali knew that he would be sent to the front of the line to fight the Vietnamese and get killed at one point. Ali was against that and fought for what many people who knew what the government was doing was wrong, yet no one stood up for themselves or others. With the actions he took, many African Americans as well as Latinos, stood up and protested against the action that the United States was doing during time of war.

Muhammad Ali demonstrated guts, resistance and resiliency when he stood up against the government. That is what every man, woman and child must do. We must stand up to the government like Muhammad Ali did to the army.

This government is run by white people, composed of rules that should apply to all but that is not so. As we learn the course of history, people of color have always been discriminated. I myself, being from a community predominantly Latino, have been discriminated  and have been put down with racial comments. My color is like a target to the police. For I am a young Latino boy who is trying to do something important in life but am constantly being judged by the white man.

We are not the minority, we are all one race, the human race and we should all be treated equal. Of course to some extent as well, for example, if you are a hard working person then you should be treated fairly and just. But if you are a criminal then yea of course you shouldn’t be treated fairly.

I come from a family that works hard everyday to live in this great country. I study to be someone in life but because of the racial injustice of this world according to the color of my skin, I am judged everyday. My goal is to be like Muhammad Ali and fight the injustice that we live in now in the 21st century. To create a safer and more peaceful community, environment and world, is the ultimate goal.

Sincerely,

Ruben Estrada


In 2015, 826LA In-Schools programming working with Roosevelt High School,  9th grade Ethnic Studies students to publish You Are My Roots: Letters on Resistance, Resilience and Reimagination. This book of letters was carefully inspired by the words and work of Tupac Shakur, Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Muhammad Ali, and Paulo Freire to name a few. Educators and volunteers created a space where students could explore history with an inquisitive attitude and critical lens. The powerful pieces in this publications made the perfect book to highlight during Black History Month. With the purpose of healing, humanization, and liberation, students share fears, frustrations, daydreams and desires, in a space free from judgement. In essence, the hope was to create opportunities for our students to reflect on their lived experiences as opportunities to engage in resistance, resilience and reimagination. Also to inspire you You Are My Roots: Letters on Resistance, Resilience and Reimagination

Read more about the In-Schools program and volunteer opportunities here

You can purchase You are My Roots: Letters on Resistance, Resilience, and Reimagination  at the Time Travel Mart here.

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