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Friday, Aug 01, 2014
Letter of the Day

How you can make a difference

Published:

Trayvon Martin's legacy should be that his tragic death has caused everyone to talk openly about the problems in our society. Everyone, from the president on down, is voicing their opinions, fears and feelings. If we all did our best to communicate openly, without prejudice or malice, maybe this terrible event could have been avoided.

Everyone must try to understand why people think and feel the way they do. Many opinions are based on personal experiences. Sadly, most are based on bad experiences, of their own, or the tales of others. We all have to learn to look at the whole picture. Don't assume that you know what others are thinking. I get it. When young black men see someone react in a certain way toward them, the assumption is that they are being profiled. Maybe they are. But it also happens to young whites and Hispanics and those of Arabic descent. The list goes on. You can't let one experience cloud your judgement on the next.

If every one of us made an effort to show our true selves, to smile at others, to be polite, to be courteous, or whatever it takes to prove that you can't be stereotyped, maybe you could actually be responsible for saving a young man like Trayvon. Your actions and behavior toward others could be the one moment that opens their eyes to another possibility. If someone's next actions are based on an experience they just had with you, maybe the next person will benefit from your efforts, and you will be making a difference.

If you can't make someone think better of others, at least don't be the one who made them think worse. Try to be the high point of someone's day, not the low point. Who knows? The next person they encounter may be someone you know, or care about.

William Hagen

Brooksville

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