Saturday, May 7, 2011

Courage to Do What is Right

This week is the fiftieth anniversary of the Freedom Riders- nearly five hundred Americans, black and white, who trekked from the north to the south by bus, challenging strongly held conventions of racism, especially in the deep south, and challenging the federal government to protect the rights of all people and enforce federal laws prohibiting segregation that had already been put in place.

They were harassed. They were beaten. They were humiliated. They were killed. Yet they pressed on. Five hundred Americans out of a nation of MILLIONS. Their views were for some, unheard of. Many people even thought they were immoral and flat out wrong. Some Americans even went as far as to say that the abolition of segregation and the mingling of black people and white people would be the ultimate downfall of our great nation. The country was deeply divided over this divisive issue that affected our nation's culture and identity. Yet they rode, they sat, they quietly protested for what they knew was right.

They were the innovators. They were the tiny handful that went against the grain to stand up for truth. I wonder today if I would have had the foresight, the wisdom, the courage to do what they did. And I wonder what atrocities I'm being silently complicit in today.