Two things made me ask this question: This week’s televised commemorations of the 1963 March on Washington and watching Lee Daniels’ film, “The Butler”. Where the heck was I when Americans were standing up, putting themselves in harm’s way, marching for equality, making history?
Well, I was twenty years old, a married student going to college at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Consumed by my own life, I was striving to get by and maintain a household while working toward a Bachelor of Science in physical education and a minor in English.
We did have a television. Every night in the summer of ’63, news footage of the violent confrontations in the South bombarded us a dinnertime. But that was way down there. I was in Michigan, too naïve and removed and involved in living my life to sink my heart and concentration into what played out before me. Today, I am embarrassed by that realization.
But, we all grow and mature to see beyond our own small worlds. When we’ve had life experiences and gain insight, we change. I recognize that the woman I am today would behave differently than that girl of twenty, would pay attention and find the courage to step up and speak out. (“If we knew then what we know now…”)
In 2013, there are myriad causes, beliefs, and values that provide opportunities to show courage. Some are personal, others are on national or global levels. Some of us will remain silent or unconcerned because we think an issue doesn’t affect us. Some of us are just plain afraid --afraid of having our feelings hurt or of hurting others’ feelings. Some of us will take action, no matter how small, that will make a difference.
Revisiting the America of 1963 has reminded me of the kind of person I want to be. It has dared me to be courageous.
~ xoA ~