Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yes M'am, Ms. Bland

I cried today and I'm proud of it. The tears first started at the Civil Rights Memorial as I watched my 12 and 13-year-old daughters sign their names on the wall along with everyone else on the trip and the thousands of others who have signed before us. This wall reminds us that there are struggles everywhere - and that we have pledged ourselves to work toward practicing and instilling tolerance wherever we are.
The waterworks really got going when Ms. Joanne Bland told the story of Bloody Sunday and how she woke up from fainting cradled in her older sister's lap. The wet she felt on her face she thought was initially water, but then realized it was her sister's blood from being hit by police officers as she tried to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL. How can a mother not be moved by this story when Ms. Bland and her sister were roughly the ages of my own children? The images of her experiences are too close and too personal. Ms. Bland's name does not do her justice as she is ANYTHING but bland. She is an amazingly strong woman who is toiling every day to keep the story of the Civil Rights movement and those who went before alive because there is still so much more work to be done in all of our neighborhoods and communities. After meeting with her and listening to her, how can we not be moved to action in our own way? Yes M'am, Ms. Bland, I am not going to forget you or your challenge to us.

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