Could it be, as some suggest, we have too many immigrants? Could it be the gays and LGBTQ communities are exerting too much influence? Could it be that we’re buckling under the weight of our own successes? Have we allowed our elected officials to forego their moral obligations? These are questions that we are currently grappling with.
When duty makes that inevitable call; who will answer? Well, less than a generation after world war II ended, America made such a call. We were struggling on two fronts; war in Vietnam and, the ill effects of slavery and unjust laws toward the most vulnerable in our society. Thus, the ‘Civil Rights Movement’ made its big push toward justice. As with most movements it began slow and steady with a consistent call for people to make their voices heard. After a short while our young people said, “Enough”! “No More”! They had seen, heard and, experienced enough. They were ready and willing to answer the call.
Victor Hugo, a French poet, novelist and, dramatist once said, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come”.
Our young citizens were involved in the civil rights movements most memorable moments. These teenagers and young adults helped desegregate schools in the south, challenged racism during ‘Freedom Rides’, and helped advance voter rights and civil rights legislation.
Among the most influential of the student organizers was the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a group that embraced non-violent protest and helped train many of the movements participants. Fueled by young people’s rejection of white supremacy, SNCC was once the nation’s largest and most well-organized civil rights group.
Once again, over fifty years later, America makes that call once more. A new vanguard of teens and young adults are answering that call. They are taking their positions, manning their stations and, readying their instruments of war; non-violent protests, social media and, mass marches.
March for Our Lives, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and, other homegrown movements are presently formulating a way forward in addressing mass shootings in schools, disproportionate police shootings among people of color, unreasonable immigration laws, abuse and exploitation of women, etc., Remember the saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”.