Many would consider me a passionate person, but I have always considered myself a person who lacked enough passion to immerse myself blindly in any activity. As I watch and read about the events unfold in Cairo, the imagery is very reminiscent of that of our own Civil Rights movement. As much as I am denied my rights because of the color of my skin in America, my freedoms are much greater than a lot of people all over the world. Thinking of both movements pains me in various different ways. It pains me that there are billions of people in this world who would die for the rights that I have. It pains me that there are not enough Americans of all races that have a small percentage of the heart that the people in Cairo have. It pains me that many Americans dismiss what is happening in Cairo because we have "problems" in America. And, it pains to feel somewhat helplessly observant.
Today, you hear many Black Americans say that the movement has come to a standstill because we do not have dynamic Black Leaders to start a movement. I would say that we need to be inspired by the action of the people in Egypt that individuals can make a difference. As individuals come together, they create a force. Our own history shows us us that with the right media attention, it is hard to turn a shoulder on those living without basic civil liberties. For me Black History month is not just about Black History, but about our civil liberties and interactions as Americans.
Alice Walker wrote:
For in the end, freedom is a personal and lonely battle; and one faces down fears of today so that those of tomorrow might be engaged.
I owe my ancestors who fought for my rights as well as myself to remain knowledgeable. I hope that everyone takes an opportunity to educate themselves on something outside of the Black History Month basics and continue past the surface.