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Michael Jackson was an eloquent and gifted man who cared a great deal about us and our future. During his lifetime, he spoke thoughtfully, intelligently and with great pass...ion and insight about the intractable problems we face in an increasingly global society. He used his enormous talent and celebrity to call attention to the plight of others less fortunate and he consistently impressed upon us the importance of taking responsibility for our actions and contributing the very best that each of us has to offer.
Michael Jackson & Bubbles Cartoon
Michael led by example and encouraged us to imagine a better world in which we all play a vital role. His words, whether delivered at venues where he was invited to speak or expressed in the lyrics of some of his most seminal songs, consistently express his unwavering commitment to and confidence in humanity.

In his speech at Oxford University in 2001, while promoting his “Heal the Kids” campaign, he states:

“Before you know if you have red hair or brown, before you know if you are black or white, before you know of what religion you are a part, you have to know that you are loved. In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe. Let us heal the world and blight its pain. And may we all make beautiful music together.”

He underscored his commitment to this ideal again in his speech at the Exeter Stadium in 2002:

"We hear of nations hurting each other, of neighbors hurting each other, of families hurting each other and the children killing each other. We must learn to live and love each other before it’s too late. We have to stop! We have to stop the prejudice, we have to stop the hating, we have to stop living in fear of our own neighbors. I would like all of you now to take the hand of the person to the left and to the right. Go ahead! Right now! I mean it! Don’t be shy! Do it! It starts now! To the person next to you. To the left and the right. I mean it. Right now! Go ahead! Don’t be shy. Do it! Do it! Now, tell the person ... tell the person next to you that you care for them. Tell them that you care for them. Tell them that you love them. Tell them that you love them. This is what makes the difference. Together we can make a change of the world. Together we can help to stop racism. Together we can help to stop prejudice. We can help the world live without fear. It’s our only hope, without hope we are lost."

But I believe it’s in the lyrics of his music that he left his most invaluable legacy -- a universal message that speaks to all of us, both individually and collectively, about the responsibility we share in improving our world -- regardless of who we are, where we live or what our socio-economic status may be.
Michael Jackson Heal The World
In “Heal the World,” Michael stressed the importance of making the world a better place for future generations. In “Black or White,” he focused on the need to end racial prejudice and see each other as human beings instead of living our lives as colors. In “Scream” and “Tabloid Junkie,” he addressed the hypocrisy of the media and how it was used as a tool to destroy, distort and confuse. In “They Don’t Care About Us,” he railed against dehumanization and the denial of basic human rights. In “Earth Song,” he warned us about carelessly destroying our fragile planet. But my personal favorite is “Man in the Mirror,” in which he passionately implores us to look in the mirror at ourselves and forces us to acknowledge that making the world a better place starts with us.

I believe the greatest gift we could give Michael on his birthday is to celebrate his life and legacy by never losing sight of his message of love, unity and respect for one another. Let’s not only hear his music, but let’s also be guided by his words, and through our actions, let’s work together to make our world a better place for everyone.

Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson. Thank you for gracing our planet with your impressive presence and making such beautiful music.

-Sheila Roberts
Entertainment Journalist
X1 Blogger--Guest Blogger