Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A solemn thank you to Thomas for sending me this article: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/07/10/1413220 about the Jena Six.

What a powerful and outrageous reminder that we still live in a world that is so divided. While I hope that nothing can come between me and my pacifist beliefs, this story reminds me that the world has not changed enough for us to relax.

One of the people quoted in this article, Caseptla Bailey, says about her letter-writing campaign "That's how I fight back, you know, by putting the pen to the paper." Well, here I am Ms. Bailey, fighting with you, putting fingers to keyboard to try to help.

It reminds me of so many stories - of David Duke's reign in Louisiana, of young children beaten on playgrounds, but especially of the untold stories from a generation ago that so many of us try not to think about. But this is not from a generation ago, this is from today. This month. This year.

I have been joking with friends about how to get out of jury duty... knowing that I've never been called because of my nomadic ways. But this makes me realize the solemnity attached to that "duty"... that all of us that want equality are necessary parts of this deeply flawed justice system. Our voices are important. The work is not over.

As sad and disheartening as this is, I know that tears are not helpful. As enraging and galling as this is, my anger must be channeled. I start with this action here: sharing this story with you. When other appropriate actions are clear, we will all need to act.

In the meantime, all I can do is remind everyone reading this of the answer that Rosa Parks gave a few years ago, when asked what should be done now. Her response was for all of us - to confront the more subtle forms of racism when we see it. To not let the comments and the inappropriate behavior go uncorrected. We cannot afford to let this be perpetuated in future generations.

3 comments:

Kali said...

Hey, Kathyrn:

You are welcome to come to the house!! Not quite the Rivera but Maryland's Cheaseapeake Bay has its charms...

K

Kathy said...

Kathryn,

I cannot believe that it is 2007. When I went to school in Virginia Beach and took the requisite VA history class in 6th grade, the class books literally said that blacks were much happier as slaves than they were as freed people. That was what we were taught in 1986. My mom (a NJ native who had always worked for Civil Rights) was completely horrified. But to think that it is still that crazy. I can't even imagine being a person of color in the Deep South.

The Guardian has a great article about it here: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2083762,00.html

One of the things that saddened me the most about your blog post is that if I hadn't read it this evening, I would have never heard about this story and wouldn't have done a Google search to learn more about it. Why in the world hasn't it been picked up by major news networks??? This is ludicrous and past outrageous that they have ignored this story. These kids will lose their lives in a far worse way than the Duke lacrosse players ever could have and that story and the crazy DA in that case got tons of press. Where is the press for these 6 kids?

Kathy

Kathryn said...

Hi Kathy:
Thanks for the link to the Guardian article. I was so grateful to Thomas for emailing me the article. I'm happy that I can help spread the word about this. It makes me feel like my cute little blog has a purpose.

Maybe I'm naive, but I feel like things can be changed. Our generation feels the outrage of past wrongs. Although we may not be as quick to act as our parents generation, I just hope that those of us that can clearly see the truth of the matter can really begin to educate others. We're only 50 years after Brown Vrs the Board of Education. Alot has been done, but alot needs to be done.

My friend Alana and the organization Teaching for Change put this book out a few years ago:http://www.civilrightsteaching.org/ It's called Putting the Movement back into Civil Rights Teaching. I've given several copies to principals, but I wish it were used more.

I miss being in Washington and taking parts in the marches. This is definitely march-worthy.

Thanks for your comment Kathy. Hope you're doing well.