Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 28, 2003
Knights hold Respect Life Speech contest
Ashley Melenka, a Grade 11 student at St. Mary's School in Vegreville, is the 2003 winner of the Alberta-Northwest Territories Respect Life Oratorical Contest. The Knights of Columbus have sponsored the contest since 1987. Contestants have the choice to deliver a speech on one or more social, moral, or ethical issues related to the theme.
This year the provincial level of the competition was held at St. Mary's High School in Vegreville on April 12. Eight students participated in the competition with speeches ranging in topic from abortion to cloning, and from child abuse to racism.
The winner, Ashley Melenka, was competing in the contest for the second consecutive year. She received $500 prize money, an engraved plaque and trophy. She will present her speech at the K of C state convention April 26.
Here is Ashley's winning speech:
By ASHLEY MELENKA"From one human being he created all the races on the earth, and made them live throughout the whole earth."
Good morning honourable judges, teachers, and followers of the Lord.
My speech I am about to present to you is going to describe the mistaken identity of racism in the past, present, and future, the Church's viewpoint on this issue, and how our Christian society can take preventive measures against racism hand in hand.
The introductory quote found in Acts clearly states that with prejudice and arrogance in our society, we must have faith in whatever struggles society endures. The Trinity doesn't discriminate us, but it is our own developed society, which stands up to these false views, which have engulfed our world.
Racism is the belief founded on one's racial or ethnic superiority over another. It is a discriminatory attitude, which encompasses the beliefs, attitudes, and practices that define people based on their racial classifications.
Racism does not spontaneously occur, but is enacted and reinforced through social, cultural, and institutional practices in our society. It is very important as Catholics to break the barrier of ethnic discrimination to reach a global goal of peace and harmony.
The historical origins of racism have to be considered, since the Church is especially sensitive to this discriminatory attitude, and the Bible condemns any kind of prejudice. The message through biblical revelation affirms that the dignity of every person is created in the image of God, and with all of us created spiritually by God, the unity of humankind is in the Creator's plan.
For this, the holy father wants respect between ethnic groups, as well as their acceptance of coexistence, and to be treated fairly with the golden rule.
As a Christian society, we have engaged in a more diverse way of living and interacting. With racism still occurring, there is a higher statistical rate of hate crimes and assimilation.
As our society evolves, more forms of racism have been produced. The most common forms that exist today are institutionalized racism and ethnocentricity. Institutionalized racism is a type of discrimination is still sanctioned, or allowed, by the laws of a country, mostly supported by the ideas of whites over colours. Ethnocentricity is a significant attitude where you believe your culture group is dominant over another minority group.
Justice has to be served, with the Lord guiding us, hand in hand. The Church proclaims the way with confidence and strength in the infinite forgiveness of God.
Reconciliation will only take effect if various religions, governments, and the global community actively opt for a "culture of peace."
The following Christian creed is filled with wisdom, courage and the power to change the world, quote: "We believe in Jesus Christ, who continues to rise for our life, so that we may be liberated from prejudice and arrogance, from fear and from hate, to transform the world into a city of God."
Preventive measures have been taken to prevent types of discriminatory attitude from prevailing in our international society.
Such Catholic measures as the Consultation on Church Union, also known as the COCU. This society focuses their attention needing to combat racism around the world. The experience of the organization makes clear the unity between the Church and Christian members to overcome racism and prejudice.
As individuals, we can promote peace and equality throughout society, and educate those people who persecute the victims. As Catholics and one with the Church, we can promote spiritual living with Christ.
My own high school is even taking a stand against racism by promoting equality through our Christian theme, Seeing Christ in Everyone. And we can turn to one another, and as Christians say, "God made us all unique. You're different, and I'm okay with that."
In society, all ethnic nationalities must learn to grow, interact and learn together peacefully as a united group of individuals. If we don't, racism will continue its unfortunate journey, led by negative effects and consequences. The Church's position is very clear on the negative impacts of racism and discriminatory attitude presented by society.
As education is the power of prosperous citizens, I encourage every one of you to reflect on racism in the past, present and future, especially with preventive measures our society can take to promote equality. With your help, I hope you can make the difference between prejudice and justice. Remember, racism is similar to a disease; with your support, we can cure it.
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