“The time is always right to do what’s right.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
We are all Homo sapiens no matter the color of our skin, our hair, our eyes. Reverend King knew this even before we could prove it with genetics; he died by living the very words he spoke, getting in the way of endemic injustice. Every year we celebrate his legacy.
It is a fantastic time to be alive in all of our collective existence; Homo sapiens is at the top of its game in the 21st century. It’s proven we are all genetically similar, yet more than a century after slavery of fellow humans is outlawed, we still cling to pre-determining a person’s worth or ability or character with something so trivial as how DNA sequences pigmentation. We are free to emigrate to all corners of the world and mix into cultures unlike our own; our skin color is less ‘black’ or ‘white,’ becoming shades of browns and creams.
We are all Homo sapiens.
We’re the same, you and me, real differences defined only by our culture, the mode of our upbringing. Unlike our foot-migrating forebears of centuries passed, we are no longer bound by the region or latitude into which we are born, genetically determining our skin tone to absorb or reflect heat as necessary. Today, it matters little the color of our epidermis, hair follicles, irises. The importance of these passed-down traits have simply become non-relevant in our easily-mixed civilized world.
Homo sapiens is an animal species, and we are more alike our non-human neighbors than most are prepared to acknowledge. We all survive each day however we can. We love and protect, build our families. We dote on our young, look for shelter, or escape death if necessary. We feel — pain, love, life. But we have built a distinct advantage for ourselves in the last century, manipulating the environment with a temporary resource to better ourselves. We rarely consider the consequences imposed by us upon others. We’ve given only ourselves the voice of justice and that laws that protect it.
Slavery and torture — oppression at its worst — still exists today. Trillions of earth’s animals are labeled ‘property,’ exploited, basic freedoms of movement and comfort removed. They are raped and beaten, offspring stolen from them. They are created and destroyed for no good reason at all. You don’t think about them much because you choose not to see them; those who profit from their animal ‘property’ want it that way. It is you who causes their very existence, you will them to be with an insatiable desire for convenience, pleasure, and entertainment. Non-humans have no voice, no representation.
We are all animals.
While a few billion of us make inroads and reparations for our petty differences in skin color, gender variations or sexual assignment, and religious teachings within our own species, there are trillions of others on this planet who care little of it all. They are merely doing their best to survive no thanks to any of us. Perhaps if we shift our baseline of compassion more outward, if we could begin to think of this world as more than what serves our species, our actions might become more consistent with our words, our beliefs, our ethics.
And our home would — finally — become a more equitable place for all.
Extend your baseline of compassion and mercy.
Adopt the vegan ethic today.