Liberty and justice for all: yet to be served in 2014

Emma Podolsky, Contributing Writer

In 2013, we improved by leaps and bounds.  We created a living, lab-grown ear from a 3D printer, Pope Francis became the first pope from the Americas, Croatia became the twenty-eighth member of the European Union, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons won the Nobel Peace Price.

Yet a series of events much closer to home, which had for many years remained largely unseen, finally emerged into the mainstream media after decades of neglect.

These events involved something that most would imagine could not happen in the twenty first century U.S.—discrimination based on minority status and social privilege.

Possibly one of the most publicized cases to capture the attention of our nation’s media outlets was that of Cece McDonald, an African American transgender woman and activist who, in June of 2012, was sentenced to forty one months in prison (but was finally released after nineteen months) for stabbing a man who attacked her along with her friends in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Although this event occurred during the spring of 2012, it became increasingly prominent in the media in 2013, as it was contrasted by a number of court cases displaying a strong race bias.

There the case of the white Texan teenage boy who recklessly killed four people in a drunk-driving accident and simply could not bear the burden of being born into an affluent family with nearly every accompanying privilege—and was therefore pardoned from any jail time on behalf of his debilitating disease, better known as “Affluenza.”

These two cases are not the only ones out there; in fact, such cases with clear discrepancies based on social imbalance have largely been among less prominent news items.

It is my hope for the future that we will be able to bring justice to those like Cece Mcdonald, and at the same time create a safer environment for all groups in our country.

Here’s to hoping 2014 is a year filled with political change—and for the better.