Rights and Equality
Rights and Equality
Bloodshed, loss of lives, imprisonment, suffering (both physical and psychological), humiliation, amongst other horrible experiences were what many people went through during expansion of equality period. Indeed, equality as we know it today did not come easy. Equality meant, among other things, having women vote just as the men did, and having the same respect and fair treatment for homosexuals just as there was for heterosexuals. It also meant treating all children, no matter their race or background, the way they ought to be treated: fairly and responsibly. Expanding equality also meant treating an African American the same way a Caucasian would be treated anywhere and in any given situation. Although the quest for equality at such levels was long and painful, it bore fruits in some areas but much more had to be done in other areas. Indeed, liberation is an on-going process rather than a one-time experience.
In most cases, the struggle to expand equality and equality rights did not bear as much fruit as those who were fighting to get it would have wanted. On one hand, some equality was achieved in some areas. For example, in the 20th century, children started getting more attention, especially those who had no homes or were under no guardianship. Although the attention was not as much as expected, it soon grew over the years. People started getting more concerned about compulsory education for all children no matter their background. However, such cases as “black” schools and “white” schools were the norm of the system. On the other hand, there were still a lot of children who had no guardianship, care and education. At some point, non-governmental organizations started taking responsibility (Riis, 2009).
Another area that made a positive step after the struggle was that of women’s rights and equality. This was mainly in relation to their suffrage right. After a long struggle, they were granted the right in 1920. This meant that women had a right to vote just as men did. The elder women during that time were happy to know that they did not fight for the girl-child education some years earlier for nothing. The girls they had fought to educate had now fought for the suffrage right using the knowledge they gained in school (Todd, 2009).
Peaceful campaigns and talks/speeches were some of the effective methods use by these activists. Although they often ended up being interrupted by the police/security force, they still ended up stating their cause and explaining their opinions to the public. These interruptions left a number of people imprisoned, injured or even worse, dead. In some cases, the activists ended up using one-on-one confrontations in order to get better results. For example, women activists led by Mrs. McCulloch confronted Representative Gray, in order to challenge him into voting for the suffrage right. It worked (Todd, 2009).
In fighting for gay rights, homosexuals and other activists decided to form groups and movements. One of such movements was the Gay Liberation Movement. This was made in order to protect and fight for the rights of homosexuals against discrimination and other hostilities (GLF, 2009). Groups are stronger than individuals are. Through these groups, the people were able to demand for their rights and to get encouragement from each another. Many were honest enough to admit that they were open but they had not gone public (GFL, 2009). Such movements encouraged its members to be both open and public. This showed the public that gay people were real and that they had to be treated with the same respect as heterosexuals, wrongly termed “normal” people.
These movements had their own shortcomings. For instance, they had no direct connections with the government and other house officials who would have given the movements more strength. The few who were ready to support such groups or movements were either threatened or even killed. For example, the state senator from Caswell was found murdered by the by the Ku-Klux in the Grand Jury room because of his support for the African Americans. He had received threats but he insisted on supporting the people who had elected him to the house (Tourgee, 2009). This lack of support or the threats given to the few supporters of such groups threatened the movements’ existence. The lack of support due to fear from people in the same situation was also a weakness in the movement. For example, African Americans were afraid of entering such movements during the Ku-Klux period due to the potential harsh treatment they would receive.
Liberation is an ongoing process rather than a one-time experience. Many people had to suffer and even loose their lives in order to get us to where we are today as far as rights are concerned. Women today have more rights than they had sometime back but they have yet not fully reached where they ought to be. Bold individuals, movements and perseverance were needed in order to get some of these rights. Some activists did not live to enjoy these rights. This is because what they fought for took long before it was fully implemented. For example, campaigning for the suffrage rights started in the 19th Century but the situation was realized in the 20th Century. Although the lack of support from people in the government and the legislature were a main factor in the delay in implementation of these rights, with time, they were realized. The process is however still ongoing in order to ensure that isolated incidences of discrimination are outdated.
Riis, J., (2009). How the Other Half Lives (1890). Pearson Education, Inc.
The Gay Liberation Front (2009). The Gay Liberation Font (1970). Pearson Education, Inc.
Todd, H. M., (2009). Getting Out the Vote (1911). Pearson Education, Inc.
Tourgee, A. W. (2009). Letter on Ku Klux Klan, (1870). Pearson Education, Inc.