I watched young people protest this weekend. I saw them heading determinedly to their destination, their signs proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” or “Defund the Police.” I wondered where they were going and watched them join a growing group gathering near Buckingham Fountain.
The next day I heard the young people before I saw them. From my balcony I watched as they made the turn on the street in front of my building. There were less than one hundred; their efforts to responsibly maintain a safe social distance made them easy to count. They were almost outnumbered by the police.
In the tradition of protest in this country since its inception, the leaders of the 2020 protests have been young, impatient and passionate. For me, their protests were fitting tributes honoring two civil rights icons who started their activism as young men.
Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian participated in his first nonviolent protest, a lunch counter sit-in as a young man of 24.
John Lewis was 23 when spoke at the March on Washington (which he helped organize), the youngest to do so.
These trailblazers deliberately, intentionally and continuously put their bodies in harm’s way with the full knowledge that, though they protested peacefully, violence would possibly be visited on them. They participated in “good trouble” and their legacy is the generations of young people currently leading the fight for freedom from the frontlines. I pray that Generations Y and Z are encouraged by their examples of courage.
In the words of another civil rights icon, Coretta Scott King “Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in each generation.”
I’ve been reflecting the last few days on a couple of weeks full of #BlackGirlMagic and feeling so grateful to have been in the presence of amazing women, like…
Shanute Brewer, who is exposing her young VISIONaries to STEM subjects like coding;
Jamila Trimuel who is helping 9-18 year-old girls discover their purpose, passion and perserverance;
April Ervin, who just published her first book and is trying to help Superwomen save themselves;
Eva Kennedy, who is focused on helping women in transition find clarity;
the women of Mox.E who empower women to live their purpose;
Dr. Yashika N. Tippett, the founding principal of Air Force Academy High School, who just brought the first flight training program to the Chicagoland area;
Tammera Holmes, the founder and CEO of AeroStar, who is creating bonafide pilots for an airline industry with a looming shortage of them;
Young Women Professionals League members, who are focused on developing siSTAR leaders holistically;
Aunt Oprah and FFL (Forever First Lady) Michelle Obama, who are showing the way;
my sister Vanessa Smith, who has successfully led her business for over 20 years
and my daughter, Renise Alexander, who is pursuing her passion for travel by any means necessary!
I am so grateful for your examples of excellence, persistence and resilience. You inspire hope…you inspire greatness.
I often hear people say passion is not enough to sustain us in our relationships, in our work…in our day-to-day existence. But in my observation, the passion ignited when paired with the right person, or the right cause can fuel the journey infinitely…
“Our light is revealed as we strike our gift against the needs of the world…” ~ Mark Nepo