Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King urged us to judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. There is no question that poverty and lack of equal education can affect the course of people’s lives, and we should be putting research, resources, and wisdom toward changing that, but there have been many people from those circumstances, of various shades of skin, whose character has been a shining light to our world.
There are times when I am ashamed to be a human being—when I see what our thoughtless consumption and greed are doing to our ecosystem or how we treat each other. But when I consider those people who live to their potential, especially those who have done so despite the challenges of their circumstances . . . I am proud to be.
T.K. Thorne is a retired police captain (Birmingham, Alabama), director of City Action Partnership, and an award-winning author of fiction and non-fiction.