November 21, 2015 Leave a comment
When I heard Ruby Bridges was going to be speaking in our area, I decided right away that Addis & I would be going.
It was at a venue 1 1/2 away, so I pulled her out of school. We arrived at 2:15 & waited outside online until 6:00. Addis was a champion! Not a single complaint! And she listened to the talk intently. I am so pleased that Addis had the opportunity to meet Ruby Bridges & get her book signed. She showed the book to her class the next day.
During the talk, I posted what Ruby Bridges was saying, as closely as I could:
She thought she was going to college
She thought the school was sooo much nicer than her previous school
The second day the crowds doubled. When her mother saw it on tv, she thought, “oh God what have I done? “
As a 6 yr old she could see Separate was not Equal
She could see her teacher looked like them. But soon realized she wasn’t them.
2 schools were chosen to integrate, & they were schools in the most racist parts of town
She says all of her neighbors walked behind the marshall’s car everyday, escorting her for support
Sitting in the class room She could hear kids yelling at her
She saw only marshals on the playground & thought there were no kids there.
She couldn’t go to the cafeteria because of threats to poison or hang her.
She thought all the kids were in the cafeteria & she’d have to go there to make friends.
Teachers quit their job
They thought she wasn’t eating because she was worried, but it was because she was throwing out her lunch hoping she could go to the cafeteria.
She just wanted to make friends. She was so disappointed.
The worst part of first grade was the loneliness
There were white patents who wanted to send their kids to school with her…but they lost their jobs, crosses burned on their lawns, threats to their lives & safety.
Children who were sent to go to school with her were kept away by the principal
Her teacher would confront the principal about breaking th law.
A little boy told her “my mom said not to play with you because you’re a n***er”
That’s when she understood what was happening.
He hurt her feelings, she just wanted someone to play with.
She works in schools every day & listens to their stories of being bullied.
She said a little girl told her she gave her the courage to be brave when something bad happened to her
My story is bigger than me, I’m just a vehicle
I feel responsibility to explain racism to children. Which is hard, because there’s no sense to it.
Racism takes away children’s clean heart
I cannot judge a person by looking at them, I have to know them. Dr MLK taught us that
We are responsible for what we see unfolding before us today.
I still can’t really understand it. What we see unfolding in front of us, what is it about?
They didn’t see a child, they saw what they were losing, change. Is that the case today?
If so, we’re losing, there will never be a place with no race.
We don’t have the luxury to trust & love only people who look like us.
I’m speaking to you as a mom who’s lost the most precious thing, a child, to murder.
We are being separated. There is a them and us. It’s good & evil & looks like me and you.
Good will win. My message is to come together, I want you on my team, we have to fight the evil.
Kids: you can change the world.
Asset the civil rights museum, there was a wall of all the freedom riders, & they were all different, black white Asian Hispanic. How did we get here?
I’m just as upset as most of you at what is happening now.
I hope that what I say inspires You to think about how we can make the world better. We can’t afford to lose another child.
Norman Rockwell, he didn’t know what to do. So he stepped away from what he knew and he painted it. It inspires us to ask “what can I do”
If I’m not shouting it from the mountains, I’ll be whispering it to every child. We have to end this.
Racism is a grown up disease.