Movement beyond the Dream.
I’m almost thirty years old this year. 20 years before I was born on a military base in the great state of Texas, my mother was just a little girl and her generation was moved by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a way that swept the nation. I often wonder if he knew when he was preparing this speech, that it would become so iconic.
Almost 12 years ago, during my very first class of college, Dr. Gloria Cox would play a video of that speech to honor its anniversary at UNT. I remember that I cried, because I felt totally unworthy. I didn’t feel like I was awesome enough for so many people to struggle and give their lives, so that I’d be able to go to a public university, so that I could take public transportation to get there without issue, and so that I could use any facilities available to take my life in whatever direction I wanted.
How could someone know that the movement that they believe in would have such a drastic effect? I think of how my grandmother used to tell me that when she was a little girl, if she was walking on the sidewalk and white people were walking, she’d have to move to the side and let them pass. I can walk anywhere I please, on the same streets where my grandmother walked as a child. There is such a tremendous amount of pressure to be constructive in this world, when you think that whenever someone was hosed down in the streets, or shot down, or attacked by dogs in protest—that was for me.
What is this generation’s contribution? How will we make things better than they were when we got here? Is racism all gone? Absolutely not. Just a few days ago, Colorado legislator made a statement about poor black people and fried chicken having a fiscal impact on our people. Personally, I’ve been called names and refused service. I know that there’s a portion of the population that hides their hatred deep underground. We should not tolerate hatred of any kind. Many LGBT contributors and advocates feel like their cause is identical to the civil rights movement. It is not. Each cause is different, fought by different people, but we have to remember that just because the fight is different, it is not any less valuable—If we refuse to tolerate hatred, then we must advocate equal rights across the board.
Bigotry cannot be tolerated in any form. The only way to snuff it out is to speak out against it in any outlet that is available. Perhaps one of the biggest complaints from the older generation about the Occupy Movement a couple of years ago was that the younger generation was just filled with complainers. How else is a movement really birthed? Our nation was founded by a group of whiners who felt they were oppressed by taxation, and every struggle after that was a response to the expression of discontent amongst groups of people. We have to continuously seek to change for the better and the progress of our society hinges on our disdain for injustice and current conditions. If we never complained and saw what was wrong, what would be our motivation for change?
We have more media tools and the power of the internet now. We don’t have to gather in churches to sit through sweaty uncomfortable meetings. With the power of communication comes the inconvenience of free observation. During the past two elections, I have seen people say some of the ugliest, racist, and fallacious things I think I have ever heard through the internet.
It is my hope for our generation that we take the road paved by those before us and make it better. We have the direction of yesterday and the technology of tomorrow. I hope that we won’t spend our lives occupied with the frills and fringes and neglect what really matters. If we want our children to live in a world that isn’t completely polluted, a world that is not afraid of sexual orientation, a world untainted by prejudices towards the poor and the diseased, a world that accepts each individual—We might want to get on the ball. We have an arduous amount of work to do.