Today was a wonderful day. The weather was beautiful, and the tours and museums were amazing. I thought my favorite part of the trip was touring the Capitol Building today, but then we got to the Civil Rights Memorial at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The twenty minute video we watched was absolutely touching. I had a sense of how brave these people must have been to stand up against people who had so much animosity towards them. They saw their friends and family killed with the murderers getting away with it because of the color of their skin.
And I thought to myself, would I be strong enough to go through something like that? Would I be brave enough to stand up for myself and my people like that? Could I be like Martin Luther King Jr. and be a Moses for my people?
It was after that video that I really started appreciating what that generation did for a better future for themselves but most importantly, for their children and grandchildren.
And so, I thought visiting that Memorial was my favorite part of the day. But I was proved wrong when we went to meet with the Civil Rights History Makers. I thought it was going to be a simple dinner with just Q & A going on, but it was so much more than that.
It is one thing to read books and learn about these sorts of things, but it is completely different to actually hear stories from people who went through these things firsthand. Not many people have opportunities like this.
Hearing Ella B. Bell, Pastor Graetz and Mary Louise Smith talk about their experiences during that time was incredible. These are people who actually knew Martin Luther King Jr. and they were those courageous people who were not afraid to stand up for the rights of black people. They put so much at risk, and there were times when their lives were at risk (ie. bombs, getting run over by a bus) but the point is that they still fought for their beliefs.
I hope today's youth will look at examples such as these and learn from them. It is like what one of the women on the panel said: we should all love each other, communicate with each other, and look out for each other. The connections people had during the Civil Rights Movement are not seen today, and it is sad that they do not exist, but I believe that learning about significant events such as this will help us all learn to stick together.
So yes, a very, very awesome day today.