So often in the past decade of my life I have bemoaned the lack of courage in my generation. Those of us coming to adulthood in the 1980's are singularly devoid, more often than not, of a social conscience that would drive us toward speaking out, consistently and resolutely, for those less fortunate than ourselves who need our help and voices.. My generation placates itself with the myth that doing so would accomplish nothing. We take care of ourselves. The comfort and success of ourselves and our families is our single, weightiest concern, making us true products of the greed-filled eighties which formed our perspectives.
Hopefulness comes to me, however, through the words, conduct and determination of leaders like Cori Bush, Maxine Waters, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Tarana Burke, Letitia James, and other activists. They speak out for what we all know is just, but what most of us cannot be bothered to uphold by sticking our necks out and risking unpopularity. These women speak out incessantly, despite the torrent of disapproval they encounter daily. They do what people who do not look like them, who have privilege due to their birth into the "Caucasian" cohort with its inherently wider platform of influence, choose not to do.
Human rights and dignity are not an abstract, international concept left to the United Nations. They are the daily issues we all witness and all too often, ignore. I know the incredible debt we owe to these dynamic women who are boldly standing on the right side of history, and in defense of democratic freedoms for everyone. Like the suffragettes worldwide who risked their reputations and lives over the span of thirty years to stand up for the right for all women to vote, these female leaders recognize that women cannot wait for others to do the right thing, they must insist upon it themselves.
Not a single one of them resembles our nation's statues of revered defenders of our mutual freedoms. I look forward to seeing that also change.