(Photo credit: heavy.com)
In college, I took a course “Political Power and Social Change.” This class traveled to the key areas of the Civil Rights movement: Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee. The purpose was to understand non-violent civil disobedience, discuss the impact of this method and current organizations in the area conducting anti-racist work. We sat down and broke bread with key individuals from the movement. I got to meet freedom fighters, we learned their stories, anguish and struggles. These were students like Hollis Watkins who joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who assisted with student voter registrations, Reverend Edwin King who organized sit-ins in Jackson Mississippi, and we met with current organizations committed to fighting racism such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
(Image of Jennifer Nguyen Moore with SNCC activist Hollis Watkins)
We walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge where the freedom fighters marched against injustices, segregation and for voting rights. Learning about Bloody Sunday and walking the bridge was a somber experience for me. The thought of all of the bloodshed, tears and pain, just for equity made me disgusted and furious. However, it lit a fire in me. All of the activists I met, the stories and history I learned from this trip ignited the desire and energy to fight for social justice and dismantle racism.
Today, it is a shame that we are still living with these systems of oppression. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is continuously postponed; in its place, we have the perpetual systems of White Supremacy culture. We are seeing and hearing hateful rhetoric from our neighbors and leaders. Systems and policies are in place to continue to disenfranchise the disadvantaged.
Although we are in a place with so much hatred and so much against us, we need to persist and we need to move forward. The time is now for us to end racism. Do what you can to better the lives of others, be kind to one another, volunteer and donate your time to a cause you care about. The time is now to elect officials who share the values of the named and unnamed Civil Rights activists. The time is now for Jennifer Nguyen Moore to become your County Commissioner. I will fight for you and for the values you care deeply about.
Just know, I cannot do this alone; I will need as many neighbors to knock on doors, make phone calls and share my message and vision so that we create equitable systems. Let’s build this for us!
Happy birthday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr