Monday, January 19, 2015

On this day...

My husband and I went to see the movie Selma today. We sat in a crowded theater surrounded by white people and black people and Indian people watching that movie about voting rights and freedom and racism and anger and fear and courage and justice and determination. When we left the theater we both used the restrooms then walked across the plaza to a pizza restaurant where we ate and drank and talked about the film we had just seen.

In a movie theater.
In a restaurant.
In Charlotte, North Carolina.
Fifty years after those brave people put their lives on the line that separated black people from white, angry people from peaceful people,
fearful people from other fearful people - because they all had to have been terrified.
But there they were.
And now here we are.

They were granted the right to sit anywhere they wanted on buses and trains.
They were granted the right to eat at public lunch counters and other eateries.
They were granted the right to stay in hotels and motels along our nation's roads.
They were granted the right to attend desegregated public schools.
They were granted the right to vote.

Sadly, the right to vote, the right to easy access to voting is being overturned in many southern states. Schools are increasingly separate and unequal yet again.
Our prisons are populated disproportionately by men and women of color even when their crimes are the same as their white counterparts.

Violence trumps peace on nearly every side.
Greed trumps generosity.
Fear trumps trust and courage.
Apathy trumps involvement.

And today I ask myself: what am I going to do?
What am I willing to do? To not do?
What am I wiling to say? To not say?
For whom will I speak? To whom?
What price am I willing to pay for my own freedom and for the freedom of others?

Today we saw a movie that I think everyone should see. Everyone. North and South, East and West.
Today we were reminded of why the third Monday in January is a national holiday.
We were reminded of why Dr King earned the Nobel Peace Prize and also the ear of so many people; some loved him and others loathed him, but they all heard him.
Today I was challenged to continue that march, because of Dr King's own words, written in a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Thank you, Dr King. Thank you, Coretta King.
Thank you to all the marchers and supporters and volunteers and prophets.
Thank you to the ministers, priests, nuns, rabbis, mothers, fathers, children who stood and fell, who lived and died for the sake of righteousness, justice, and peace.
Thank you to the brave women and men who continue to fight that good fight,
to speak for the oppressed, suppressed, depressed, and dispossessed.
Thank you to my parents for surviving the brutality so present in North Carolina and South Carolina where you grew up so that you could meet each other in Brooklyn, New York, get married and give me and my three brothers an easier life than the one you endured.
Thank you to The Lovings whose love for one another forced the Supreme Court to strike down the laws that prevented interracial marriage so that my husband and I could go to the movies today.
In Charlotte, North Carolina.

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