Many people over the decades have asked me “why” I am so passionate regarding certain social issues. Since there really is no one incident, I will copy for you below a comment I was asked to write for a “Civil Rights” website. I trust this will give you a glimpse into that of which I have represented now for many decades.
As a young person, I was horrified at the images of violence against our own citizens in the south. During class one day, I asked my teacher if he (a Native American) would help me write a letter to the president. He asked what I wanted to say to him. I let my teacher know of the horrors I’d seen on TV…and said someone needs to tell the president. Imagine my utter shock when he told me the president was aware of what was taking place.
This wonderful teacher helped me write the letter. A couple days later, he asked if I would use the knowledge of what I had seen on TV as a “Show & Tell” for my class. My answer was an immediate, YES! Jump ahead numerous years…
The summer prior to me beginning college, I went to Mississippi. There is no way, in a few short sentences I could describe all that I’d witnessed and had taken part. After college, I went back to Mississippi. This was several years AFTER the Civil Rights Bill was passed.
However, the KKK was still soliciting for funds (while dressed in their robes & hoods) for their “cause” as vehicles would be stopped at red lights. They would come right up to the car window and ask for money.
On several of these occasions, I had my friends in the car with me (African Americans). Needless to say, I was fully involved in doing what I could to alert others to this outrageous breech of law. Did anyone listen? Yes…but it was the opposition. It was as if a “bulls-eye” had been placed on my back. I am sure you can use your imagination to know some of what took place, such as a smoke bomb thrown up under my carport, my windows being shot out…and being stabbed…and several other things I cannot bring myself to write down.
This had a profound impact upon my life. It is ultimately, what led me to my career choice. I’m often asked, “Are you satisfied with the positive changes that have been made?”
Each time I am asked this question, my mind begins to race. Yes, there have been amazing positive changes. However, there is, yet, so very much more to be done. The ones that tell me “We don’t have issues with race, here in the USA”…have, obviously, never had to deal with it. Or they choose to keep their eyes blinded by the obvious.
I should say that I spent time in several other southern states, but it was my time in Mississippi that changed my life. One thing I came to realize as a profound truth is this: Every life touches every other life!
My career was in service to others, primarily outside the USA…as a Humanitarian Aid Relief Coordinator & Educator for First Responder. This allowed me entrance into numerous nations across four continents.
Let’s never forget one of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s statements…”Injustice any where is a threat to justice everywhere”.