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Matilda Joslyn Gage Center celebrates essay contest winners

Diane Green, Gage Education Committee chair (far left) and Sally Roesch Wagner, Matilda Joslyn Gage Center executive director (far right) with elementary school winners, from left: Morgan Foland, Allyson Isereau and Alyssa Harrell.

Diane Green, Gage Education Committee chair (far left) and Sally Roesch Wagner, Matilda Joslyn Gage Center executive director (far right) with elementary school winners, from left: Morgan Foland, Allyson Isereau and Alyssa Harrell. Provided

— The winners of the high school contest were, in first place, Tom Schneible, from ESM; in second place, Brianna Suslovic, from JD; and in third place, Eric Spero, from ESM.

Read Tom Schneible’s winning essay below:

“Let all government cease from off the face of the earth, if we cannot build up a government of equality. A rebel! How glorious the name sounds when applied to woman. Oh, rebellious woman, to you the world looks in hope. Upon you has fallen the glorious task of bringing liberty to the earth and all the inhabitants thereof.” ― Matilda Joslyn Gage, May 1880 in Women Rebels (credit: matildajoslyngage.org)

September 11th, 2001 has a very special place in the hearts of many Americans. For some, the date brings feelings of grief and memories of lost loved ones. For others, it brings feelings of empathy for the families of those who experienced these losses. But for many others, this date also brings about feelings of anger and hatred towards not only those who committed this atrocity, but for those who are similar to them. It is understandable for people to be angry at those who committed these terrible acts, but it is ignorant to pin these crimes on the entire Muslim community simply because the attackers were Muslim. It is because of this unwarranted hatred that many Muslim Americans face racism and discrimination in our self proclaimed “free society.”

One would assume that over the course of the years following the attacks, the discrimination against the Muslim community that resulted from 9/11 would gradually dwindle. However, even after a decade the discrimination towards the community continues. In a recent study, Time magazine reported that nearly 40% of Americans still associate the religion of Islam with violence, going as far as to suggest that the religion is more likely to encourage violence than other religions (Sullivan, 2009). Furthermore the Public Religion Research Institute found that while 83 percent of Americans say that those who commit violence in the name of Christianity are not truly Christian, only 48 percent of Americans say that those who commit violence in the name of Islam are not truly Muslim (Jones, 2011). These statistics demonstrate that while the majority of the American population believes that violence is not a part of Christian culture, the majority does believe that violence is a part of Muslim culture. It is well known that the United States is populated mainly by Christians, but this does not justify this major difference in the public perceptions of Christianity and Islam. This is clearly the cause of much of the discrimination against the Muslim community.

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