Kendra Smith

My name is Kendra Smith and I am from the USA. I am 24 years old, and I am currently living in Ferguson, which is a city located in Missouri. I live in an apartment together with my daughter who is 2 years old. My own mother did not treat me very well, so it is important to me to become the best mother possible. Right now, I am working in a convenience store, but I am planning to continue my education to become a nurse as soon as my daughter is a bit older. Raising a child alone while being as young as I am is hard, but we sure have a lot of fun too. My hobbies include drawing and swimming, which is something that I wish that I had more time to do.

Currently, I am living a happy life. I have access to all the things that I need, and I have friends and family that I care very much for. Even if that is true, I think it is important to raise awareness around social and political issues, and that is something that I enjoy talking about because it concerns all of us.


My country

The USA is located in the continent of North America, and consist of 50 different states. The largest city is New York City, and the capital is Washington D.C. The US is the 4th largest country in the world by land area and 3rd by population, and has the world's largest economy. Our national language is English, but there are also many other recognised regional languages such as Spanish, French and Hawaiian. There is a lot of diversity here, and the United States is home to many cultures and has a wide variety of ethnic groups. Even if many of us are accepting of all these different people, we have also had a history of racism, and some nasty cases that I think we should have avoided. We have come a long way though, seeing as our president, Barack Obama, is black.

Some more facts:

  • 52% of Americans are Protestant Christians of various denominations, 24% are Catholics. Many more religions have significant followings and an increasing number of Americans don’t have a religion.
  • The US has the largest military in the world by money spent on it.
  • The currency of the United States is the dollar, represented by the symbol $.

What needs to change?

Finding a reason for why we have had such big problems with racism is not all that hard. With a lot of different people living very close together, conflicts are bound to happen, but the way we handle it is important. Racism against black people is one of the biggest problems we have here, even today. A while back we had a case of racism in the city that I live in, Ferguson, that led to rioting and debates about it. I think that shining light upon it can be very useful in the process of getting rid of the issue. If there is something that we definitely cannot do, it is shoving it under a mat and ignoring it. We will not get anywhere by doing that, and it is in everyone's interest that we try to solve it. We need to start cooperating and listening to each other, and we have to educate people on the fact that we are all equal no matter what skin color we have. It simply should not matter, and it does not define a person. We need to start taking action, and I mean really taking action. You can't sit around anymore thinking that "it's not my problem", because it is. This is our country, and we have to make sure that all the people living here can feel safe and not live in fear. If you want to live a safe life, even if you are white, it is necessary that we all work towards an end of racism. Truth is: it affects all of us.

This is a picture from the demonstration in Ferguson after the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The police used tear gas to control the protesters.

Protesters against injustice

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education who was born in 1997. Her work earned her the Nobel Peace Price in 2014, making her the youngest winner ever. She is a strong believer of equality between the genders, and that knowledge is the most powerful weapon we have. Her father worked as a teacher at a local school when she was younger, and he has been a great influence in her life. In Pakistan, sons are more valued than daughters, but her father was strongly opposed to that. She grew up in Swat Valley, and there was a law that banned girls from attending school. Malala, who has a great thirst for knowledge and has always loved learning, refused to keep quiet about the matter. The Taliban did not like her attitude, and in 2012 she was shot in the head after sitting down in the school bus. She recovered miraculously, and the attempted assasination did nothing to silence her. Today, she is still an active speaker about human rights and girl's right to education.


Mahatma Gandhi

Another important protester against injustice is Mahatma Gandhi. He was born in 1869, and is often being refered to as "the father of India" because he led the country's struggle for independence from British rule. His ways of protesting were always non-violent and mostly consisted of boycotts, civil disobedience and non-cooporation. Later, his way of protesting became models for many other civil rights movements around the world. He experienced racism firsthand, but he always followed his philosophy of non-violence.


Comparing and contrasting

Both of these two protesters have made an important difference in the world by voicing their opinions and refusing to let injustice live. Although Mahatma Gandhi lived many years before Malala Yousafzai, their fight against injustice share many similarities. For instance, neither of them uses violence to get their point across, which is a way of fighting that is very easy to recognize. Instead of using violence, they protest using means like their own voice. One major difference between them is the media attention that they are getting. At the time that Mahatma Gandhi lived, it simply was not as normal or important as it is today. The media is a good way to get attention to yourself, and Malala Yousafzai definitely uses it for all that it is worth. That way, she reaches out to people all over the world. Mahatma Gandhi did get his share of media spotlight while he was still alive, just not the same amount as Malala Yousafzai does today.

They both fight against discrimination, but different types. Gandhi also led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, building religious and ethnic amity, but above all for achieving Swaraj—the independence of India from foreign domination. Malala is fighting to raise women's status is a society that has discriminated against them for a long time. As stated previously, both of them have made a difference in the world by doing so.

Malala is still young, and has a lot of potential to keep fighting against discrimination and other injustices. Considering her age, she has already achieved many things. Gandhi has done more than her right now because he has had more time, but as she gets older, she may continue to fight just like Gandhi. The important thing is that both of them stands up for what they believe in and refuses to give up, which is crucial if you want to achieve something.

Gun control in the USA

What is the issue?

In my country, a subject that many people have different opinions about is gun control. This is due to many problems, for instance the fact that when Americans kill one another, the most common murder weapon is indeed guns. America is really quite exceptional when it comes to the sheer number of guns, the frequency of gun murders, and also the high number of annual deaths caused by a gun. No other country have as many as the USA, and the statistics are nothing to be proud about.

All the guns causes many problems. School shootings is one of them, and it is something that probably could have been avoided if our gun policy had been stricter. The Columbine High School massacre was a school shooting that occurred on April 20 in 1999, where a total of twelve students and one teacher were murdered. The weapon used? A gun, of course, that the two senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had gotten their hands on. This tragedy and many more, happened due to the easy access to guns.

The fact that it is so easy to buy a gun here is something that has created a lot of debates and discussions. You have two legal options when you want to buy a gun in the USA. One of them is to buy a gun from a dealer. If you do that, you will have to pass a background check to ensure that you are not a prohibited purchaser, which I think is a good thing. However, the main issue starts with the second option. In most states, it is also perfectly legal to rather buy a gun from a private seller. In that case, the background check is not required, which means that literally anyone can get their hands on a gun. Studies shows that this is the “loophole” by which the majority of criminals get their guns.

Studies also shows us that it is considerably easier to buy a gun than it is to buy a beer or a car. When buying a car, you will need things like an ID and a license. Though when buying a gun from a private seller, absolutely nothing at all is needed. I think that is stupid, considering all the damage that one single gun can cause.


By allowing anyone to buy a gun, you are also allowing psychotic and homicidal people to buy one. Let us say that your mental state is not the best. Maybe you are hallucinating, have a problem distinguishing between reality and what is in your head only, and to top it all: have a problem with drug or alcohol use. Even if you had all those problems, one thing I can guarantee you is that you would not have any trouble buying a gun and killing someone, yourself included.

We need to do something about this issue, all of the annual gun murders compared to other countries tells us that loud and clear. My suggestion is that we start by requiring a background check even when buying from a private seller. That would make it considerably harder for someone who should not have a gun to buy one. We also need more rules concerning our gun usage, and I think that by educating children on this issue, we would end up with a generation that understands the issue and knows how to keep it controlled.

After all, our gun policy is built upon the following foundation: everyone should be able to protect their own family. I do not disagree with the statement, but I think it is old and should be looked upon with new eyes. You simply do not need a gun to do it anymore.

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