Posts Tagged ‘social action’

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Road Trip Stories in the South

April 8, 2019

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Last week, I had a most excellent adventure. First, I met my oldest and closest friends in New Orleans and then road-tripped with my 88-year-old mom through the South. Both pieces were extraordinary.

My friends never disappoint. Sure, we’ve grown older; our legs more tired and our wrinkles much deeper. We’ve raised kids and dogs and worked and suffered. We’ve become strong, independent women who know a thing or two, and yet, have plenty to learn. We’re a complicated crew. Because of my gals, I’ve learned that relationships take effort. I’ve also learned, the best ones are worth the investment.

As lives change, friendships shift; but once together, my friends and I remember. We remember big hair, Bon Jovi, shoulder pads, banana bike seats, pool parties, and Schaeffer Light. Now, we roll eyes, remembering the jocks and the burn-outs, the teachers and the coaches. We remember laughing. We remember predators. We remember love. Mostly, we remember our stories. Together; eating and drinking and dancing like fools, we make more moments to remember. Stories.

After my friends, dispersed, Mom arrived. Because her grandma was a suffragist and taught her to demand social justice, Mom taught me the same. We headed for Montgomery where much of our nation’s horrific history is recorded. We sat with ghosts. We studied at the Legacy Center, listening to stories of incarceration, injustice, lynching, and death. As white women raised in America, like it or not, we’ve benefited from slavery’s dark legacy and the Jim Crow laws that followed. After many museums, we sat with ourselves; sorry and ashamed. Mom and I had long talks about racism, social injustice, and the history that got us here. We committed ourselves to listen better. Act more. And to speak about what we learned; sharing both the stories that were told and the stories that disappeared.

By the end of my adventure, I realized, not for the first time, how quickly life moves; how tragic and joyful it can be. In the time we are given, relationships and stories transform life, making it either better or worse.

Stories.

For me, I hope to create a life where I live a good story, I write a good story, and I listen to all the stories I can.

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A Slumdog Do

March 3, 2009

Knowing is not enough, you must apply: willing is not enough, you must do.

-Bruce Lee

Am I the only person on the planet who almost walked out of Slumdog Millionaire? I’ve been stewing about the film ever since it won Best Picture.

Feel good movie of the year? Hmmmm. Was it the part where we watched a girl kidnapped and taken in as a sex slave? Or was it when a boy’s eye was dug out with a spoon, and others were mutilated so they could an earn bonus money begging? The scene where the mother was bludgeoned to death in a pool of mud might have made some sicko smile.

Maybe it’s the Mom in me, but give me a box of chocolates and Forest Gump any day. It’s not just the violence and child terror that bothered me in Slumdog, but the stark reality that children live those lives every single day.

I’ve been to India. Intolerable conditions exist. And what do we do about it? Watch a movie and celebrate its awards? Hundreds of thousands of people will sing Slumdog’s praise, but in the end, do nothing.

As a movie actor and martial arts genius, Bruce Lee offered valuable wisdom when he said that knowing is not enough. And I agree, it’s not. We must heed Lee’s words and take action. We must do.

But how? We live half a world away. We have our own problems. Still, great groups of children in our neighborhoods are not being raped and mutilated or living in massive squalor. So, what can we do? For starters, we can send contributions to relief agencies. Google sex slavery and protest. Call legislators and demand action. Write letters to the newspaper. We can do something.

Then, it would get my vote for movie of the year.