November 6, 2020
Wow, I really learn a lot from my children. My daughter is thirteen years old and in eighth grade. Her aspiration is to become an equal rights lawyer, and her drive for justice at a young age serves as evidence of the great things she is capable of. Almost daily, she has something to share with me regarding something she saw in the news, a discussion she had with peers (often heated), or questions that she has been pondering. In the past several months, she has gone toe to toe with peers regarding the BLM movement – citing facts and historical events. A lot of which I was not aware of and had to “fact check” myself. She was accurate. In another instance, she and a friend debated finding a middle ground regarding the LGBTQ community. In the end, my daughter concluded that the only middle ground is that she will not tell her friend whom to love or marry, and that is how it should be for everyone.
With all this knowledge and understanding, I am amazed and impressed daily. However, not long ago, my daughter came to me stunned. She could not believe that many of the historical events that paved the way for social justice (and yes that road is still under construction), were not so long ago. She was dumbfounded when she found out that there were still people alive from WWII and the holocost. That Martin Luther King Jr was the same age as Barbara Walters, and that Ruby Bridges was born the same year as her grandmother. She could not believe that she knew people who personally experienced segregation, who put their life on the line for equality, and who served to end and suffered under extreme prejudice.
To say the least, this revelation caused pause. On one hand, she realized that many have suffered and been denied equality far longer than she had imagined. On the other, it opened her eyes to why the struggle continues today. The wounds are raw. The wounds that continue to be ripped open by insensitive or numb words, by a lack of understanding and closed hearts, and by actions – particularly by those in positions of power or service. It also gave her hope. As much as my daughter is acutely aware of the lack of social justice and equality in our world, she is also aware of the movement, a shift in the way things were. She is ready to stand with her fellow humans, and to fight for what is fundamentally and humanly right. She is going to change the world. I hope I too can make her proud.