Hedreich Nichols

If A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

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Small Bites Friday Five 07-24-20:

20-30m – Watch 30 minutes of Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise.

15-20m – Visit Yaritza Villalba’s website with history, engagement and equity resources.

10-15m –Review Kahn Academy’s lesson on Richard Nixon employing the ‘Southern Strategy’ in 1968 and explore the hyperlinked resources.

5-10m – Buy a mask, support a cause. You’ll find several companies designing tons of styles to support various causes.

0-5m – Follow Antiracism Calendar on Instagram from 16 year old Tilly Krishna out of Vermont.

When John Lewis died last week, I realized that I, like most Americans, knew very little about the man, the civil rights icon who organized with Martin Luther King, won a Freedom Medal from President Obama and fought for human rights, from the marches on Washington to the congressional halls of Washington.

I knew we’d lost someone important but I didn’t realize the depth of his lived experience. If a picture paints a thousand words, then video footage speaks volumes. John Lewis’ life is a testament to tenacity and a deep well of hope; hope, not as a strategy, but hope that breathed life into decades of fighting and winning in a system stacked against people who looked like him.

Through reading John Lewis’ stories, I found raw footage of the civil rights protests. The brutality of the attacks against the marchers in Selma, the Little Rock Nine or even the threats against a 6 year old Ruby Bridges made my heart hurt. Looking at the ugliness just below the surface of our founding principles of freedom is difficult, painful.

When we look back on the protests of the 1960s now, we use words like powerful, world changing, heroic, but those were not the words being used then. They are often not the words used now, as protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue.

Much has changed since the 1960s but too much hasn’t. Now that we are beginning to understand that racism is about a system built on stacked inequities, I hope that we, as a nation, won’t look away.

My question to you is, what side of history will you be on? Will you turn away or start your own journey to help realize the dream of equality still deferred for so many?

Even if you have been a supporter of racially divisive rhetoric until now, it’s never too late to change. Big steps and baby steps, just keep moving forward. Our communities depend on it, our future as a great country depends on it. And whether you believe it or not, your children’s future depends on us owning our wrongs and righting them so we can move forward.

We are in the middle of a movement and everyone is welcome to the party, late or not.