July 28, 2007 Montgomery, AL
Oh, it was hot, deep into the summer, in the Deep South. The historic soil of Alabama, where revolutions were started in 15 minutes, revolutions that challenged centuries of oppression. Thats about the time for it all to go down, from Rosa Parks boarding the bus until the cops escorted her to jail. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, a revolution shaped from prayers, justice, community, and fearlessness not guns. Only 15 minutes for those 600 marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge for Voting Rights to be bloodily beaten by cops, firemen, and the KKK.
Now, the idea that, “We shall overcome,” is one made in a second, and once experienced, one that perpetually propels the spirit towards it goal. Traveling through the hot, Deep South and visiting these historical landmarks helped me touch upon the faith that fueled so many revolutions. The key, I speculated, was the governing ideology, “WE shall overcome,”, UNITY. Now is the time that most Americans have a common bond, a necessary component to fueling successful change; the Civil Rights Movement victory affected not just African-Americans, though it was shaped by their community. Most Americans, at the basic level, want JUSTICE. Because I believe the first surrender comes in thinking revolutions are made by other people, I ask “What does Peace mean to you?” Had Rosa Parks sat quietly in her seat, the next 15 minutes would have been relatively uneventful. Had Ghandi not walked with protestors into the billyclubs of Englishmen, nor King into the billyclubs of our own state/local lawmen, the next 15 minutes would have a different outcome. Clearly, at every given moment, a human can act deliberately, with consciousness towards improving our lot. Do I think this is easy? No. Possible? Yes.
Possible with education; possible through deprogramming yourself; possible through questioning authority; possible through compassion and will to better your lot and others. The Rosa Parks museum was a neat experience, although, like much of Montgomery, has been littered with corporate homogenization. While standing in the beautiful atrium watching a large group of jovial kids, I realized how important it is to hear the voices of our future. Turns out the kids are from Baton Rouge, and they were there on a leadership conference. For this I am thankful, they will make great leaders. I received permission from their group leader to interview them and the kids just flocked towards the camera. I was so impressed with their politeness and their grasp on what Peace means to them.
Without further ado, the Voices of Our Future: