Ruby Bridges

RubyBridgesNormanRockwell

Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of 6 year old Ruby Bridges

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.

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Ruby Bridges

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.

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#rubybridges

#rubybridges2015

 

I Was Lied To

I was lied to.

I was taught that in America everyone was equal.

I was taught that individuals can make a difference when they fight the system.

I was taught that we fixed racism & now we all judged people according to their accomplishments.

I was taught feminism, communism, & talking back to adults was Bad.

I’m trying to re- learn. Dear God, what else did I get wrong?

Pinwheels

I guess I’m a bit late getting on the boat, but April was Child Abuse Prevention month. There are pinwheels around town, both in people’s yards and at businesses. I’ve heard some people comment or ask about them. Okay, now what? I think we know that it affects many children. We are all sad when we learn of it,

There’s a boy in foster care who I’ve watched grow up. He’s been there for a little over a year now. When he entered the system (this time), his father was alive & intended to be reunited with him.  About 2 months later he died, leaving this little guy with no family.  Two years earlier his mother had died.

When I moved into this neighborhood, this little guy was a newborn. At first we were friends (more or less) with this family. Over time that disintegrated…but we kept up ties because we were very concerned for this child. This is a family that had no end of drama, & an excess of bad judgement. In fact, this Boy was the reason we kept up any relationship with these people.

Over the course of 7 years, each of the parents spent time in jail. One parent had on-going health/pain issues with compromised their ability to care for, and over time about, this child. The other parent was violent. Both had addictions. As a neighbor I tried (as did many of the neighbors) to keep tabs on him. Note when he missed school, was it for more than a day? If so, get one of us to put our eyes on him to see if there was signs of abuse. We(the neighborhood) and me personally, called DCFS several times over the years. Sometimes there was follow-up that we could see. Twice he WAS taken from the home. But we dropped the ball many times. Often, when you report something to DCFS, you are left with no feedback & the questions they ask you leave you feeling that it was a waste of time.

IT IS NOT. PLEASE PLEASE! If you see or suspect abuse or neglect, CALL! The only adults in this Boy’s life were not advocates for him. Maybe you’ll call on someone who will find it a hassle & uncalled for, BUT, perhaps it will be someone like the mom of this Boy & they NEED another advocate.

Right now this Boy is in a foster family. They are not going to adopt him. The family he was with 3 years ago very likely would have adopted him, but his family got their act together just long enough for him to return before spiraling completely out of control. The good news is, he was just on tv, on KSL’s Wednesday’s Child. The social worker told me there had been some inquiries about him. The bad news is, it took over a year for him to get there, & isn’t going to be in a permanent home before another several months go by at best. He has a LOT of baggage & isn’t likely to be “matched” easily. This is a wonderful boy who has done nothing wrong, other than the situation he was born into.

So, about the pinwheels… I am glad that people raise their awareness. It IS around us if we know where to look. But then what? I wish there was a check list. I wish when I was a younger adult that I better recognized a neglected child & knew what to do. The awareness is great, but what do we DO?

‎”We value our Muslim neighbors across the world and hope that those who live by …the tenets of their faith will not suffer. I ask particularly that our own people do not become a party in any way to the persecution of the innocent. Rather, let us be friendly and helpful, protective and supportive. It is the terrorist organizations that must be ferreted out and brought down.” Gordon B Hinckley October 7, 2001

This (probably) isn’t what I’ll typically be writing about, but on this day of Rememberance I wanted to share. It sums up my thoughts. 

I remember turning on the Today Show & Katie Couric was crying…I thought the footage was from a movie or something. Just as I was grasping what was occuring, the second tower was hit. I was glued to the tv for the next 273 hours.