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Student Writers: Amy Brazauski

This is our final piece written in response to a writing prompt for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

This week’s featured writer:  Amy Brazauski

School: O.H. Platt High School

Age: 17

Grade: 11

Teacher: Mrs. Roman

What have you learned in school that makes you a better writer? I have learned a lot about creating strong thesis statements and using tactics of persuasion to further formal writing. I have also learned about writing structure and using appropriate grammar.

What is your favorite book? Due to the fact that there are thousands of great novels I have still yet to read, it is quite difficult to single out one book as being my absolute favorite. However Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is currently at the top of my list.

What do you like to do outside of school? Outside of school I enjoy hiking in the woods, plating clarinet in the Platt band, spending time with friends, and, especially, reading great novels and other classic literature.

Prompt:

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at the times of challenge and controversy." 

What does this quote mean to you and how can this quote from Dr. King be put into action to make our nation a better place for all citizens?

Amy’s Answer:

Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of immense courage and an unquenchable desire for equality and justice, once preached, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  Forty-two years and many social justice victories later, his words reverberate through the minds of all who continue to proceed down the path of righteousness.  In today's world, not only do we continue to strive for the elimination of racial profiling, but also for prejudices relating to gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religion, and political preferences.

Dr. King's quote means that it is easy to talk about your values, what you feel is right or wrong, when you are sitting around with friends, in surroundings where everyone agrees with you, or in moments of  'comfort and convenience.' For example, it would be easy for you to admit that you are not a racist, or that you support gay rights, in a room of likeminded people who celebrate your views rather than pose a threat to them.  However, when placed in a situation where your thoughts are challenged, looked down upon, or scorned, the way that you compose yourself is how a man is often truly measured.  In times of peace no hatred lingers, for in amity there is no conflict in personal outlook.  On the contrary, when times and opinions change, the actions of a person often reveal their character.  Do you live what you value or just talk about it; do you make a stand against bigotry or remain silent when confronted with it; are you willing to act on something that is currently an unpopular view, even if you may suffer from the consequences?  No matter which light a man chooses to stand in, when he has the choice of comfort or controversy, it will ultimately reflect in his character and personal strength. 

In order to make a significantly beneficial impact for all citizens, of all walks of life, we must listen to the message of Dr. King.  When faced with a choice between what is easy and what is right, it is your duty to society to secure social justice and denounce all prejudice, even in the face of the most scathing beast.  If there is no movement to overthrow oppression, or eliminate hate, the world will never be completely liberated.  For example, it is our responsibility to ensure that racial slurs are deemed derogatory, that all men and women are equally respected in all fields of work, and that love can be shared with whomever two people may wish.  It is also important to warrant the right for children to obtain equal educational opportunities, no matter where they reside, for all religious sects, denominations, practices, and in all parts of the world.  People must practice tolerance, and mutual respect, between liberals and conservatives, no matter what their platform may be.  Even though our lives or safety might possibly be on the line, it is the responsibility of all Americans and other world citizens to stand up for civil rights, no matter the repercussions, for these are the times during which the values of a man are measured.  In dismal moments, when fear can bring a man to his knees, a person's sincere character is revealed, for they must decide whether to choose what they personally find to be correct, or to conform to the potential evil of the majority.  If the true measure of a man was contingent upon those who only faced controversy in times of comfort, it's scary to even think how much worse society would be. Continuing to avoid the road of least resistance, like Dr. King did in the civil rights movement, allows for the improvement of social justice in America and in the world.  Through perseverance and open minds, the earth can become culturally diverse and colorful.

By taking the meaning of Martin Luther King's words to heart, we can rid society of many evil prejudices lurking in the hearts of malicious men.  By holding onto what we believe, in times of controversy and our darkest struggles, we can continue to make our nation and the world a better and more accepting place for human kind.  In the words of Dr. King's inspiration, Mahatma Gandhi, "There is a moment in your life when you must act even though you can not carry your best friend with you.  The still small voice within you must always be the final arbiter when there is a conflict of duty."

 

Ralph Riello February 24, 2011 at 01:20 PM
Well written Amy. You should be very proud, as I'm sure mom and dad are!
Joanne Conte February 28, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Congratulations, Amy, on your superb writing abilities and exceptionally written Martin Luther King, Jr. essay. Your writing is impeccable, the ideas you expressed are mature, and the overall essay is powerful and moving. Your belief system and the ability to express your thoughts in writing are truly amazing. I am proud of you, Mrs. Roman, and all the other educators who contributed to your development as a writer. Sincerely, Joanne Conte Supervisor of Language Arts (6 - 12) Meriden Public Schools
Susan Perrone March 04, 2011 at 12:28 PM
Congratulations Amy! You are a wonderful writer! Your ideas are well organized and you express them in a mature and powerful way. My congratulations to you, your family, Mrs. Roman, and all of your teachers. Keep writing, as you truly have an amazing gift! Susan Perrone Supervisor of Language Arts (K-5) Meriden Public Schools

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