When I was a kid, I was terrified of vampires. My parents were huge vampire buffs, and every time a new movie would come out, we would load up the car and head to the local drive-in to watch the latest show.

To say I hated it would be an understatement because I knew I would go home that night and have nightmares of vampires coming in to suck the life out of me. I remember settling into bed on those nights taking my pillow and wrapping it around my neck to hopefully prevent access from the bites that I knew would while I slept. It was an unsettling few nights as I tried to rid the images out of my mind. And just when I had succeeded in my quest for peace, there would be a new movie out that my parents would want to see, and the cycle would start again.

Now that I am an adult, I still don’t like vampire movies and can honestly say I don’t even watch previews of anything that showcases them. I know the vampires of my childhood aren’t real, but there is still something that causes me to lose sleep.

Today, I find that there are still vampires in the world, but they have taken on a different persona from my childhood. The vampires of today are present in all corners of the world and come in to feed on the life of man. They rally and stir up hate and discrimination among people who they deem undeserving of the freedom that is for everyone.

In the news this week, we read that Mississippi has passed the Religious Freedom Bill causing another avenue for people to discriminate. This Bill allows individuals, businesses, and religious organizations to refuse service to people whose lifestyles differ from their beliefs.

Recently in my own town, there has been controversy over racist remarks when a city councilman posted a picture insulting our Latino community. When he was called out and challenged by the community, his response was “It was just a joke.”

As these situations continue to happen, I find myself asking on a regular basis, why have we not figured out a way to stop this kind of behavior in the twenty-first century?

In a 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace, Morgan Freeman states that the way to stop racism is to stop talking about it. He states, “…I’m going to stop calling you a white man. And I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You’re not going to say, “I know this white guy named Mike Wallace…”

It is time we become a society that breaks the traditions of our ancestors and accept people for who they are….People.

People should have the same rights and freedoms; regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, size, sexual orientation, age, and so many other ways we choose to limit the lives of our fellow man. We need to stop the discrimination in the workplace, we need to stop it in our churches, we need to stop it in our homes.

It’s time to become vampire slayers. It is time to stop defining people by their differences and take a stand when we encounter discrimination. How do we slay the vampires of today? The same way they did in the movies, I watched as a kid.

We shed light when there is darkness. When we see or hear of people trying to take the freedom of others, we need to speak out. We need to let our community, our country and our world know that it is not okay to treat others differently. We need to act in love and stop acting in hate. We need to be the change we want to see and realize that if everyone begins to be that change, perhaps, one day, our children and grandchildren won’t have to fight this battle.

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