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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

— Matilda Joslyn Gage was a strong supporter of numerous important causes, such as women’s suffrage, abolitionism, religious freedom, and Native American rights. While Gage’s work primarily focused on the rights of women, it is clear that this was not the only group that she believed deserved equality in American society. For example, in 1880 Gage wrote of her work on the Syracuse section of the Underground Railroad in her newspaper The National Citizen and Ballot Box (Gage Foundation). It is because of her dedication not only to women’s rights, but also to the rights of everyone, that I believe Gage would be firmly against the discrimination that Muslims currently face in America. While working on the abolitionist cause, Gage also continued her primary occupation as a suffragist in the women’s rights movement. In the opening quotation, Gage argues that people who choose to support views outside the mainstream are often treated as rebels or outsiders, even though they are often the ones responsible for bringing justice to society.

This same phenomenon can very easily be seen in the current issue of racism against the Muslim community and hostility toward those who stand up for Muslim rights. In the years following the attacks of 9/11, many Americans have falsely labeled Muslims as violent, dangerous rebels. This stereotyping has caused government agencies, such as the Transport Security Administration (TSA), to revise their policies regarding those of varying ethnicities In a recent revision to TSA airport security protocol, 14 countries were subject to the enhanced screening for travelers heading to the United States, including Saudia Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen. In the fourteen countries listed, Islam is the most prominent religion in all but two (“Muslim-american group criticizes,” 2010). Despite this clear discrimination against the Muslim world, many Americans actually consider this a just precaution because of the events of 2001.

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