411 Focus

Those in my age group... and older, you might know what I'm talking about

Contributed By:Dorothy Nevils maslivend@sbcglobal.net

"We've come a long way"

That’s a phrase I’ve heard over… and over… and over again, and heretofore it came from a senior, and was accompanied by a reverent…pensive, even… shake of the head, followed by the three sounds, unh, unh, unh. If you can divide your age by two—and still have enough to buy a bottle of pop— you might know what I’m talking about.

Those in my age group… and older…got it. We knew what it meant. We had recognized it from our own past… and from a past recorded by our elders… and some of us had shared it with our children.

Others had learned from history books… from the screen… so real… so horrifying that rows of us sat immovable, hot tears creeping down our faces, down to the bottom of our chins, to fall soundlessly into our laps… where fists—tightened by experience or witness—lay in our laps… We knew.

Somehow… it feels like we’re on our way back…. Back to the place we left… Or…even back to the place from which we were hustled… The ‘we’, however—at least the whole “we”— seems unaware that part of that group…had left! Perhaps they were sleeping… or engaged in something others didn’t value so highly… or at all!

Really! How could they sleep… when the noise pried open the lids… jerked them apart… and propped them open… so violently? Reaching out, one could almost feel the cold hands ensuring that their victims would feel… would know …who their enemies were!

Yet, sleep they did… so many… and like a baby, whose face relaxes into a smile in the middle of its dream, they slept on—oblivious… trusting…

Somehow it feels like we’re on our way back…

Or… have we “turned our back”? Do our children have a clue about the Selma to Alabama march? Does “We Shall Overcome” mean “naught” to today’s children? Do they recognize the name “Rosa Parks”? Does “sit in” ring a bell?

I sometimes get a bit peeved when I see kids strolling around, cocky as the barnyard rooster… children who have no respect for women…or descendants who could have been their great-great-grandmother asking the question, “Ain’t I a Woman?”

I remember a woman… a teacher, mind you… querying me about the church I attended. “Lutheran?” She asked… Then, testily… “You do believe in God, don’t you?”

…And so I did what would open up knowledge for our children… and some adults: I shared with her the connection between Martin Luther, German theologian and religious reformer who initiated the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century… and MLK, father and son, named after that theologian.

And now, I say to you, “Go and do likewise.” Teach. Inform the children… and those who are not children! Introduce them to themselves… that they may know… and honor… who they are!

Story Posted:02/03/2020

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