Talia Boyers 1 st Place Essay 2012 Lincoln Essay Competition

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1 Talia Boyers 1 st Place Essay 2012 Lincoln Essay Competition Tears stream down his face. He winces as the whip cracks. Blood coats his back, drying in the sun s heat. Down the road a girl is being auctioned off. People shout back and forth, the price rising. Lincoln s heart bled for them. Lincoln said, As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Abraham Lincoln had many reasons for wanting to end slavery, and many of these reasons apply to why I think it s important to end discrimination against people with disabilities. As before the Civil War when African American slaves were seen as a fraction of a person, in some ways people with disabilities are also seen as less than whole. The early roots of Lincoln s dislike of slavery began in his childhood. His parents believed slavery was wrong and had a major influence on his beliefs. They moved to Indiana from Kentucky partly because they wanted to live in a place that supported the anti-slavery movement. My education about people with disabilities also began when I was very young. My own brother was born with disabilities and my parents taught me to value all people equally. When Lincoln was growing up he heard people discussing both the pro and anti slavery arguments. As he got older, he became more educated about the reasons for abolishing slavery and saw the impact it made on everyone. When he was given the chance to take action, he took it and made a difference. Hearing stories about discrimination and knowing that it is wrong motivates me to educate other people about discrimination and its impact. Just as Lincoln did, I want to take action and fight for what I believe and make things right. The most important way to end discrimination is through education. For many years, people with disabilities were separated from others. This was seen most clearly in schools. I plan to become involved and create opportunities for people with and without disabilities to come together. I plan to become involved in events such as the Special Olympics. I will also organize an integrated 1

2 gardening event in my family s sensory garden where my classmates will come together with children from my community who have disabilities. In coming together, I hope to begin to break down the barriers that exist between people and have them appreciate what they have in common. There is no reason in the world why the Negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence: the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness In addition to these words, Lincoln also understood that everyone, no matter how different he or she is, is entitled to everything that others have. Abraham Lincoln knew that slavery went against the principles of our democracy. Like Abraham Lincoln, I believe our democracy is strengthened when we treat all of our citizens equally. 2

3 Emma LeMay, 2 nd Place Each individual has the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Most differences are made when a person feels strongly about an issue and is committed to creating change. Abraham Lincoln was a powerful president who wanted slavery to be abolished because he believed it was morally wrong. Today, there are thousands of orphans in China, and this is a wrong that also needs to be righted. I want to accomplish my goal by using the same empathy and determination that President Lincoln used to make a difference in our nation s history. To me, adoption is one of the most important things in my life; it is how I came to my family in the United States. I was adopted in Chongqing, China, in 1998 when I was five months old. The organization my parents used, Chinese Children Adoption International (CCAI), has placed more than 9,500 Chinese babies in their forever homes. However, there are still over half a million Chinese orphans living in poverty. Just as Lincoln believed that all men are created equal, I believe that all children, no matter who they are or where they live, deserve a real home. Empathy is an important quality that allows a person to put himself in the shoes of another. Lincoln knew deep inside that slavery [was] wrong morally and politically. When he was a young boy, he saw slaves being sold in the markets like other common goods. After witnessing a group of chained slaves along the Ohio River, Lincoln understood their suffering. He stated that the institution of slavery had the power of making [him] miserable. For me, hearing about Chinese orphans is also painful, for I know that these children are not fortunate

4 enough to grow up in a family. Feeling their pain and knowing how lucky I am motivates me to do something that will open the door to a brighter future. Lincoln was determined to accomplish his goals and did this by putting his feet in the right place, then [standing] firm. He knew that many citizens and even colleagues were against his anti-slavery position; however, that did not stop him from taking action. Before the Civil War, there were four million African American slaves in the United States. Lincoln helped free them through his efforts and his ability to think and act anew. His determination to set the slaves free and keep the Union together also inspires me to help free Chinese orphans from growing up without the love of their own family. Lincoln s strength as a human being is a quality I strive to emulate. I hope someday to return to China, visit my former orphanage, and spend time with the children. I plan to raise awareness and promote adoption through my own story. Abraham Lincoln reminds me that I was born to follow my heart and take action to make a difference in the lives of others.

5 Mahli Knutson, 3 rd Place Poverty is a hardship for many. Jo Parker expresses, Poverty is being tired asking for help looking into a black future an acid that drips on pride until all pride is worn away. Poverty is a chisel that chips on honor until honor is worn away. 1 Poverty causes hunger. According to the United Nations, hunger- related causes kill about 25,000 people daily. 2 Poverty causes illness. Six dollars buys one bed net for protection from mosquitoes carrying malaria. About one million people die from malaria annually. 3 Poverty is a thief of life and happiness, and an issue that I feel strongly about, and want to help resolve. I have the perfect role model. Abraham Lincoln was compassionate and genuinely cared about people. During the Civil War, Lincoln held public opinion baths, opening his office daily, and listening to every visitor. 4 When he visited Civil War casualties, Dr. Jerome Walker noted, He was just as kind his interest just as real for the welfare of the [Confederate] men, as when he was among our own soldiers. 5 He didn t give up easily. Running for political positions, even when he lost, he said, The cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the end of one or even one hundred defeats. 6 His values led him to great success in changing the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in Confederate states on January 1 st, 1863, was his act of great compassion. 7 I view him as a model and wonder: How can I make a difference in the world? I have a plan to help resolve the issue of poverty. I am following my morals and compassion for others, just as Lincoln did. It is time to act. At the 2002 Monterrey Conference, representatives from 22 developed countries, including the United States, pledged to work towards giving 0.7% of their national income (total income earned by every individual) to international aid. These funds would be enough to prevent almost all deaths from poverty- induced hunger and disease. The U.S. has not declared a date when the 0.7% target will be reached. 8 Poverty.com provides a form letter requesting our government keep their promise. One can print and send the letter. To boost awareness of poverty, I will make posters for my school, changing them monthly. They will contain information about poverty, direct people to Poverty.com, and urge them to send the letter. Lincoln said, Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed. I will send s to 20 personal acquaintances, directing recipients to Poverty.com. I will compose an announcement about poverty for my school s daily newsletter. I will send the , and a copy of the letter from Poverty.com on February 12 th, Lincoln s birthday. The first posters will be put up on Monday, February 13 th. These actions are to educate people and encourage them to help in a simple, convenient way. Lincoln said, I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day. So shall I. 1 Jo Goodwin Parker. What is Poverty? Published in America's Other Children: Public Schools Outside Suburbs, by George Henderson in University of Oklahoma Press. Accessed through https://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/135/jgparker.html on 2/6/ Poverty.com. Accessed January Ibid. 4 Lincoln: A Photobiography. Author: Russell Freedman. Copyright 1987 by Russell Freedman. Accessed January Page Ibid. Page Ibid. Pages Ibid. Page Poverty.com. Accessed January 2012.

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